Nov 05-07

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2007: November: Nov 05-07
Quieter camping    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by William Pekuri
Leftover leaves    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by William Pekuri

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 03:19 am:

If it's solitude you're looking for when you're camping, this is the time of year to hit the campgrounds. This quaint little cabin is located in McLain State Park and I'm not certain whether the park is even open to campers this time of year anymore. But even with most of the leaves off the branches, these shots from William Pekuri, are still inviting to me. I wouldn't mind bundling up and staying there a night or two, as long as I could bring along a heater and a good book too. It's scenes like William's second photo that would make braving the chill of the Lake Superior air, well worth the adventure. Have you noticed that the oak trees like the one in the bottom picture, seem to hang onto their leaves long after the other trees? They're even dried on the branches, so that when you walk beneath one, you can hear the wind rustling those dried leaves together, overhead.

By JH (Thumbgardener) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 03:21 am:

Good morning.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 06:49 am:

That's a gorgeous shot of the oak tree with the lake in the background. Not only do you hear those leaves, Mary, you smell them too. Leaves smell so good in the fall.

By Harold G. Pesola (Pepsi1) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 06:52 am:

My wife's favorite campground is McLain State Park. The sunsets are the greatest after a day of exploring and sitting around a campfire. I remember my Grandmother and her sister Nellie Toyra getting a cab from Waterworks Location and going to the McLain for a day and the cab driver coming back for us at a set time. That was in the early 50's, we most likely would not be able to afford doing that today with the price of gas..........Thanks for the great pictures and helping our memories come back.......

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 07:07 am:

Either one, I'd take the time to spend at one.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 07:24 am:

McClain is a beautiful park. We visited there one night this summer in late June, to watch the sun set. It was a perfect night for it. And, it was interesting, watching all of the small boats on the Portage and just outside the Entry, at anchor, there to watch the wonderful sunset.

Oak trees have been near and dear to my heart, most of my life. Many of them seem to hang onto their brown, dried leaves until spring, when the new ones are sprouting. We don't see many oak trees here in Troll Land, but there are a few. Have you noticed that most oak trees seem to stand alone? I have never seen a clump of oak trees, at least that I remember. Thank you, William Pekuri and Mary for today's beautiful pictures.

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 08:19 am:

There are red oaks and white oaks. One keeps its leaves in that lovely soft brown shade. The other drops all leaves. I can never remember which is which, and I may even have the names wrong.

They do live in groves. In ancient celtic tradition, observances were held in 'sacred oak groves.' I lived for 20 years in an oak grove at the edge of a golf course. I think why we see them mostly alone now is because others have been cut down for development, lumber, etc.

I believe oaks are threatened now too as the ash trees in the lower peninsula were. I lost a beautiful ash at my current house.

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura (Marsha) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 08:44 am:

I would love to stay in a tiny cabin like that, with heat and a good book (and the view!) like Mary said. I guess it's not much different than my cottage, except a lot smaller. But the size just plays up the coziness! Keep us informed on the snow pastycammers! We heard down here that there are blizzard warnings forecast for the Keweenaw. I've often said I'd like to be airlifted into my cottage (eliminating the driving) to watch a snowstorm and the gales of November out my front window.

By Mel, not in KS anymore! (Mehollop) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 08:56 am:

I believe it's the red oaks (northern red, pin, black, blackjack, scarlet, etc.) that hold onto their leaves through the winter. The whites generally drop theirs (white, bur, post, overcup, swamp white, etc.) - at least that's what I'm envisioning at the moment. The dendrology book I've got in front of me doesn't seem to be confirming or denying it though.

Certain species of oaks will grow in groves - particularly mixes of post & blackjack. They especially grow together in places that were disturbed by fire. Oaks are generally intolerant of shade, so they will quickly colonize an area after a fire, given the opportunity. (Much like jack pine on poor soils.)

With that in mind - the lack of oak regeneration in the wake of harvest can be attributed to the last 100 years of wildfire suppression. Smokey's done some good, but also some harm to the natural succession of things.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 09:10 am:

And here I thought it was just an oak conspiracy to hold their leaves till deer season was over. All the best locations seem to be next to a few big brown leafed oaks that rattle with any hint of breeze making it very hard to hear anything else.
Oak wilt has been a concern here in MN for some time. I'm not sure what areas of the state are affected. The big threat to the ash trees now is the emerald ash borer, I believe MI, WI and possibly MN have prohibited transporting firewood other than dimensional lumber. Help me out here Mel, please.
Mr. Deb

By Gordon Jelsma (Gjelsma) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 09:25 am:

This picture reminds of why I love Michigan. The change of seasons bring about a distinctive change of views but also of smells. I love walking in the woods on a cool fall day. The moist air, and the smell of decaying leaves, the fresh clean smell of winter, the fragrant smells of rebirth in spring, the mature smells of nature in full bloom in summer. If a better place on earth exists I don't know where it is.

By stix (Stixoutwest) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 09:53 am:

Hi Pastycammers! Well Marsha, it looks like I may be doing just what you were dreaming about....watching the Nov. gales from a cozy cottage! I'll be back the end of the week and the little cozy cottage is right on the edge of Lake Superior. Gorgeous, however I'd also like some days where I can comb the beach!! Winter Storm warnings, yikes. I just hope my plane makes it in on Thursday!!

By Marcia H. (Livinindenver) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 09:56 am:

Best place to watch a sunset:)

By Mel, not in KS anymore! (Mehollop) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 10:05 am:

Mr. Deb:

EAB is indeed the big threat to ash. Confirmed infestations in Ontario, MI, OH, IN, and I believe IL as well. Many states are working on introducing firewood transport bans, encouraging campers to purchase wood from local dealers using local sources to reduce the potential for fast spread. (Many states have been trying to keep the transport of firewood to a minimum for a while, trying to slow the spread of gypsy moth.) I know for certain that states having members in the Great Plains Tree Pest Council (KS, MO, NE, ND, SD, IA, WY, CO, MT) have been working together the last couple years to develop action plans and quarantines in their states to keep the EAB out as long as possible. These states may not have as many trees as Michigan, but the percentage of ash is much, much greater - around 25% in the woods (particularly along waterways), and in some communities up to 75%. That's a lot of resource to lose all at once.

I would encourage everyone to be familiar with EAB if they live in or travel to the Midwest - see for some pretty good up-to-date information.

As far as the oaks go, particularly in MN (my new home) we're dealing with Oak Wilt. It's a fungal disease, very similar to Dutch elm disease but (according to the experts) easier to control. The area currently affected by Oak Wilt is primarily around the Twin Cities, though it is gradually expanding. The DNR and Forest Service make detection flights statewide during the summer to keep an eye on various pests and diseases, oak wilt being one of the primaries. (I was in the plane for a few of the flights this year.)

Anyhow... I will try to keep an eye on this page as the day goes on - just remember to take what I say with a grain of salt... I'm no specialist, but I do try to pay attention.

On a side note... Yay Snow!! (It's flurrying in Grand Rapids, MN.)

By Mel, not in KS anymore! (Mehollop) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 10:06 am:


I forgot to include the link for info on Oak Wilt - a page from the University of Minnesota:

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 10:10 am:

Burning leaves. Thats why I like fall, they smell good.

By Pete Wilberding (Peshtigopete) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 10:15 am:

Nothing can mess up an XC ski trail more than oak leaves. Yuk

By Ann Muir (Annm) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 11:16 am:

Speaking of oaks, I love the legend of the indian who killed a deer in another tribe's land and was condemned to death. He begged for mercy, since he had to feed his family, and was told that he could live until the oak trees dropped their leaves. He then appealed to an oak tree for help, and that is why some oaks keep their leaves all winter. As a kid in northern Michigan, I watched the oaks throughout the winter to make sure the brave was safe.

By Laura J. Rye (Jsrye) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 12:05 pm:

Hey Mary.....those oak leaves aren't just rustling....if you listen closely, they sound like an audience offering a standing ovation. Those trees are clapping for you.

By JAD, Oscar, MI (Jandalq) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 12:26 pm:

McLain Park is the best deal around--all seasons. It's great for camping,picnicking, hiking, beach-combing, biking, snow-shoeing and even cross-country skiing. The scenery is hard to beat. I've seen campers lined up along the cliff to watch the sunset. I've felt like clapping as the sun sinks below the horizon. Last week's Gazette indicated the DNR may be making cuts, perhaps in staff or in services--whatever. Some folks park OUTSIDE the park and use it without paying their fee, but the parks are essentially communal property which means we are all responsible for their upkeep. A season's fee is no more than paying for a dinner out. Without park fees the parks are hurting. Hey folks, pay your park fees and keep our parks the best in the nation!

By Uncle Chuck @ Little Betsy (Unclechuck) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 02:01 pm:


By 4WDGreg (4wdgreg) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 04:02 pm:

I hope you're all ready for the big snow storm that supposed to hit. It was a beautiful fall day down here near Detroit today. Just a light sweatshirt and you were ready to hit the trails! Unfortunately the front is now coming through bringing high winds, rain, and soon the temperature will start to drop. We're not expecting a blizzard though! I think the war against the Emerald Ash Borer has been lost. Every year or so, the quarantine area doubles in size. I'm sure the bug is in the U.P. by now. It's just a matter of time before you see the ugly results that we've been seeing down here for a few years. Look for trees that die from the top down. Large groups of branches shoot out from the base of the trunk, while no leaves grow on the top of the tree. The bug is suspected of coming into Michigan in wooden pallets from China. I also saw the ugly devastation of the Beech blight while visiting Taquamenon the last couple of summers. All those huge stumps! It looks like Michigan must have looked like when the loggers got through with it about 90 years ago. Sad...

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 04:51 pm:

Annm--I never heard the legend of the oak tree before.
Thanks for sharing it.

By anna swiniuchowski (Abswini) on Monday, November 5, 2007 - 10:08 pm:

As I remember learning in my classes, oh so many years ago, the Oaks and Beeches keep their leaves through the winter in order to help maintain a layer of leaf debris on the forest floor year round. Good ol' Mother Nature thinking up ways to keep mulching!!!!

By Catherine Ristola--Holland MI (Catherine) on Tuesday, November 6, 2007 - 01:46 am:

Bayer makes a poison against ash borers that is supposed to be pretty useful. I bought a couple of bottles at Meijer and hoped for the best! My trees are near the gutter, so I applied it when there was no rain forecast so it could soak in and not get washed straight into the storm sewer. You are supposed to apply it once a year, I'll let you-all know if it fails.

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Tuesday, November 6, 2007 - 02:05 am:

Yes Beech trees keep their bright goldish yellow leafs right up to when the new seasons leafs push them off in May. 80% of the Ash trees on our property are dead/dying. The DNR has given up on the Ash trees. About 75% percent of trees in many areas around here are(were) Ash. I don't see many Ash trees in the NLP or UP as in the SLP but they are there in scattered areas mostly in wet areas or in and around towns. Down here Ash & Elm Saplings are normally the first and fastest trees to grow and take over abandoned fields.
One can go to and link to pages about the Ash Borer tragedy. Commercial tree service companys are now allowed to transport or deliver Ash lumber and wood to anyone who can use it.
About the only positive aspect to this now is milling Ash lumber into nice boards which are fine and very usable despite the borer, and of course Ash is also excellent firewood which also is perfectly fine to use now and in fact should be as much as possible.
We have several species of Oaks on our property--ie Swamp White Oak, Pin Oak, Black Oak and White Oak!
The past few years we have lost several Red Pine to a disease that I think first started in Pennsylvania. Not much is known or can be done about it says our county extension service!

Russ Emmons, St. Clair county

By Catherine Ristola--Holland MI (Catherine) on Tuesday, November 6, 2007 - 10:03 pm:

I don't want all ash trees cut immediately--I think that is shortsighted. People overreacted to the chestnut blight by cutting everything quickly for the wood and didn't allow that species to eventually build any resistance from some of the possibly resistant individuals.

There are still some few chestnuts out there and the remnants of the species could have been much more biodiverse had not everyone been so greedy for the wood. Please think for the future of our forests and the larger environment. Proper use isn't necessarily total eradication.

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