More charcoal. While walking off-trail near Cross Mountain, I came across some charcoal hidden on the forest floor. Another place that must have experienced fire in its past. Charcoal doesn’t really breakdown & will be there for a long time. Often these tiny little pieces can be confused for a rotten piece of wood. Rubbing your fingers on it leaves behind a dry smudgy mark, revealing fire’s historic presence. I’m not too surprised given this area’s proximity to larger valleys where humans have been around for millennia, such as the Esopus Valley. There were also plenty of trees and shrubs potentially indicating fire as well, such as a variety of oak and mountain laurel. Both plants gain a competitive advantage over others when fire has been around.   

Ryan Trapani

Director of Forest Services

Catskill Forest Association