Selkirk Shores State Park is on the east shore of Lake Ontario, between the Salmon River and Grindstone Creek. This 980-acre multiple use facility is located in historic Oswego County on a bluff above the lakeshore, offering spectacular views of sunsets on the Lake. With 148 campsites, 26 cabins, camp store and recreation building, the park attracts many visitors who stay for several days. Boat launch sites are located at Pine Grove serve smaller boats, and at nearby Mexico Point offers a boat launch for larger craft. The park has over three miles of hiking trails which also serve snowmobilers and cross country skiers in the winter.
Nearby is Port Ontario on the Salmon River, one of the earliest permanent settlements in the area, established in 1836. But by 1877, the once bustling Port Ontario could no longer compete with the City of Oswego to the south at the Mmouth of the Oswego River, and so reverted to a quiet hamlet.
The park was first established in 1925 to support recreational access to Lake Ontario by the public. Admininstration buildings, bathouse and parking were completed by 1929. In 1933-37, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) developed campgrounds, cabins and park office. Gradually over the 20th century additionalland purchases expanded the size of the park
First Survey Team Visit
April 12, 2002
Team Members: Robert Henry, Tom Howard
The park was visited by the Central New York Old Growth Survey Team on April 12, 2002. The area was heavily logged in early settlement, and no virgin or original forest has survived, yet the survey team has identified three areas that have significant old growth characteristics:
Dominant: White Pine
Associate: Red Oak, Black Cherry, Red Maple (small), Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch
This second-growth White Pine stand is extremely beautiful. Old-growth White Pine is rare or non-existent in this region, and this is the only substantial stand of older (over 100 years) White Pine we've found in central NY. The Pines average 80-90 feet tall, and 24-28 inch dbh. The Pines are forest-grown, straight and tall, and of many ages, down to seedlings, grow under them. This site is not old-growth, as it lacks characteristic pit and mound windfall topography, and the oldest Pines are only 130-150 years. The site possibly occupies a field abandoned between 1840 and 1850.
Dominant: Red Oak, Sugar Maple
Associate: Beech, Hop Hornbeam, Basswood, White Pine, Hemlock, White Ash, Black Cherry, Shagbark Hickory, White Cedar, Red Pine, Paper Birch, Black Locust, Red Maple
This site consists of big trees in lawns, and is not a forest. The largest trees are Red Oaks that seem to be 150-200 years old, but most trees should be younger. The biggest Red Oaks have been topped, with tops cut off.
Dominant: Sugar Maple, Beech (most large logs are Beech)
Co-Dominant: Red Oak in 1 section, White Ash in another
Associate: White Pine, Hemlock, Yellow Birch, Paper Birch (near edges), Basswood, Red Maple, Hop Hornbeam
This site has been determined to be an Old-Growth Forest, possibly the first old-growth forest to be documented in Oswego County! Old-growth signs are abundant, including pit and mound topography caused by the decay of wind-felled trees over a period of centuries, many logs in varying states of decay, snags (standing dead trees), trees that are very large for species and site, and ring counts from stumps and log cross-sections of from 150-180 years with trees potentially from 200-250 years .old. The site is on an exposed bluff at the east end of Lake Ontario, and strong winds cause the tree to have twisted crowns that are lower than would be normally the case in old-growth. Most trees in this stand appear to be 80-90 ft. tall, and few trees appear to be taller than that.
Central NY Survey Team
NY Old-Growth Forest Association
April 13, 2002