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The Whitney Estate


Queens, New York

PHOTO xx 00/00/00

The Whitney Estate
Queens, New York

Ancient Forest found on first Southern NY Survey
Aerial Photo
The Whitney Estate
Queens, NY
click photo to enlarge

PHOTO www.nysgis.state.ny.us

Scouting Visit
November 9, 2002

Team Leader: Bruce Kershner
Assistant: Ned Barnard
Data Sheet

The day after a group of tree lovers met in New York City to form the Southern NY Old Growth Forest Survey, we went on our first exploration trip (May 19). The Whitney Estate, now called the Green Tree Foundation, graciously invited us to explore their 430 acre property on Long Island, only 1.5 miles from the Queens border. Old estates are classic places to find old growth, and we were not disappointed.

The groundskeeper explained that the property has never been logged since the Whitney's purchased it in 1895. It had also never been surveyed for its flora or fauna. As soon as we entered the forest, we concluded it is secondary old growth, with 150 to 210 year old tuliptrees and oaks—at least 40 acres, possibly a lot more.
Directions to
The Whitney Estate

  • Go to xxx
  • Drive east on xx 00 toward xxx
  • Hike 000 yards south on
  • turn east, hike 000 yards
  • Soon we emerged into meadows, and the manager took us to Shelter Rock, deposited by the Ice Age glaciers 15,000 years ago. It is supposed to be Long Island's largest glacial erratic boulder: 40 feet wide, 20 feet tall.

    Soon we were passing the historic Whitney mansion. We walked to the edge of a wooded ravine near it and I knew we had found a much older forest. Huge white and red oaks, tuliptrees, beech, maples, and white ash filled the valley. Ages were 200 to 250 years old. The site was absolutely pristine, since no one, literally no one, visits this ravine. The estate is off-limits to the public, and is now used only for international conferences. The old growth acreage in the ravine is 15 to 20 acres.

    This is now the 4th confirmed old-growth on Long Island (outside of New York City). We believe more discoveries await us!

    Bruce Kershner
    November 2002



    New York Old Growth Forest Associationwww.championtrees.org/NYOGFA/updated: 12/06/2002