The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Rick Brockway

March 28, 2014

Chestnuts are making a comeback

For better than 10 years I leased an old log cabin in the Adirondacks on International Paper Land east of Speculator. We had wonderful times there hunting and fishing. The camp was located just a few feet from the state’s Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area, so we had great access to backcountry lakes and forests on the state land.

Just as you crossed Cisco Brook, a huge, white pine tree stood next to the trail. It was massive with a trunk six or seven feet in diameter, and its branches reached nearly to the clouds. I always said that someone could build an entire house from that tree alone. But that old tree wasn’t alone. There were many of those old giants still standing in that vast forest.

A few miles cross lots away, there is a stand of white pines that were here long before the early settlers wandered into those mountains. The area called Pine Orchard has the largest white pines in the state, and maybe even in the country. Those trees are far bigger than the one along Cisco Brook. Three men can’t reach around their massive trunks. Many of them have succumbed to time and weather. They have fallen to the forest floor, where they eventually will rot and return to the thin, rocky soil.

Trees such as these will never grow like that again. It’s worth the hike just to see these evergreen giants. If you’re interested, drive north to Wells along New York’s Route 30. Just before the bridge at the upper end of Lake Algonquin, turn right up the blacktop road and continue for a couple of miles. Turn right up Windfall Road for about a mile until you reach Dorr Rd. Turn right again and drive to the end of the road and the parking area. It’s not much more than a mile or so in from there. Trust me, it’s well worth the walk.

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Rick Brockway

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