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Chittenango Falls State Park
Madison County, NY
Surveys: August 17, 2002
Team Members: Robert Henry, Dean Fitzgerald, Tom Howard

Chittenango Falls State Park was first visited by the NYOGFA Central NY survey team on Saturday, August 17, 2002.

The forest is quite diverse, and includes: Sugar Maple, Black Maple, Red Maple, Striped Maple, Mountain Maple, Norway Maple, Hemlock, White Cedar, Red Oak, Basswood, Slippery Elm, Shagbark Hickory, Butternut, Hornbeam, Hop Hornbeam, Beech, Yellow Birch. Deep in the gorge there is a patch of Canadian Yew.

All the forest, except for steep c1iffsides, is second-growth. A sawmill at the base of the falls in 1859 apparently took care of all accessible old-growth. The site has been mostly undisturbed since 1887, when a local group acquired it for preservation. The only old-growth is on the steep cliffs; all else was logged in the 19th century.

However, small stunted White Cedars and Hemlocks clinging to nearly vertical cliffs around the falls, and in a few other places have been confirmed to be Old-Growth. These c1iffside trees are a stand of Old-Growth Trees. Some of these Cedars even grow upside down! Several of the c1iffside White Cedars were cut long ago to provide views of the Falls; these stumps provided us with age data.

Tree Data
SpeciesGirthTree RingsComments
Falls gorge, cliffs and nearby areas
Hemlock6.7 feetbiggest tree in gorge
Basswood105 ringsstump in picnic area above falls
Cedar80 ringsstump above falls
Cedar120 ringsstump above falls
Cedar85 ringsstump above falls
Red Oak125 rings5.5 inch radius cross-section of branch 40 feet up old shattered tree, on top of far side of falls
Cedar150+ rings1.5 inch radius stump c1iffside
Hemlock98 rings.7 inch radius branch from c1iffside; estimated 120 rings per inch!
Cedar3.8 inch157 ringsstump; next to this tree, ancient daredevil White Cedar grows upside down out into the air
Cedar1.8 feet155 ringsstump growing on solid rock
Cedar60 ringsextremely tight on mostly hollow, tiny stump
Red Oak9.9 feet60 feet tall; on top in 2nd growth
Butternut10.7 feetmassive open-grown in day use lawn
White Ash10.4 feetmassive open-grown near just above
Basswood90 rings.6 foot radius stump part of coppice in lawn
Second-growth forest in campground area
Hemlock40 rings.6 inch radius log shattered, branch stump 25 feet above base; tree estimated 120 years at most
White Ash75 rings5 inch radius fresh-cut stump
White Cedar90 rings3 inch radius stump

Tom Howard
New York Old Growth Forest Association

New York Old Growth Forest Association www.championtrees.org/NYOGFA/ updated: 9/4/2002