Northern Forest Demonstration Areas

Leipold Property, Carroll County, New Hampshire

Working for Woodcock: One Landowner’s Path

(Story by Bob and Trish Leipold, New Hampshire Coverts Project volunteers. First published in Winter 2017 Taking Action for Wildlife newsletter.)

Major Young Forest Project Gets Rolling in Adirondacks

Project Area Will be Used by Wildlife, People

Foresters and wildlife biologists with Lyme Adirondack Forest Company (an affiliate of The Lyme Timber Company) and the Wildlife Management Institute have sited a young forest habitat demonstration project on part of Lyme’s 239,000-acre ownership in the Adirondacks of upstate New York.

Farmington River Wildlife Management Area, Berkshires, Massachusetts

Building Habitat Around a Healthy Core

Farmington River Wildlife Management Area straddles the border between the southwestern Massachusetts towns of Otis and Becket. It’s the largest landholding owned and managed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) in the Southern Berkshire Focus Area for New England cottontail restoration.

Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, Maine and New Hampshire

Helping an Iconic Young Forest Species

Foresters and biologists at Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge are using timber harvests to create an ongoing source of young forest for American woodcock and other wild animals that use the same habitat. Not only will the strategically located timber harvests provide cover where woodcock can breed, rear young, and feed, they’ll also perform another important function: teach human visitors to the popular refuge about the importance of young forest for dozens of kinds of North Woods wildlife.

Weyerhaeuser Company, Northern Maine

Timber Company Committed to Woodcock, Young Forest, and People

When Henning Stabins was a boy, he lived on Cape Cod near a cranberry bog. “I used to get a thrill from going outside at dusk in the spring and listening to the woodcock singing near the bog, and watching their mating flights,” he says. Now a biologist for Weyerhaeuser, a large timber company with extensive holdings in North America, Stabins has maintained his affection for American woodcock and developed considerable skills as a birder, naturalist, and wildlife scientist.

In the Works...

Steepletop Property, Berkshire County, Massachusetts

New England Outdoor Center Hammond Ridge Project, Penobscot County, Maine

About the Hammond Ridge Project

This 85-acre habitat demonstration area is on land owned by the New England Outdoor Center, a central Maine outfitter offering whitewater rafting, canoeing, wildlife tours, hiking, birding, hunting, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and other recreational activities, both on its own 1,400-acre property and elsewhere in this scenic natural region. The project centers on Hammond Ridge, whose elevation provides sweeping views of lakes and mountains, including Mt. Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak.

Wagner Codyville Woodcock Habitat Project, Washington County, Maine

About the Wagner-Codyville Tract

This is classic North Woods country: sparsely populated, heavily forested, and veined with flowages, wetlands that flood each spring during snowmelt. The land is covered with northern hardwoods, especially aspen and birch, as well as conifers such as spruce, pine, and fir. The region provides a rich habitat for wildlife, including large and small mammals and a variety of breeding and migratory birds.

Mattawamkeag River System Wildlife Management Area, Page Farm Compartment, Penobscot County, Maine

About the Page Farm Project

The Page Farm Compartment’s 1,206 acres lie within the 6,838-acre Mattawamkeag River System Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in east-central Maine. The terrain is a mix of floodplain forest dominated by spruce, fir, and cedar; bogs; upland hardwood forest; and old farms reverting to shrubland and woods. The region’s abundant wildlife includes deer, black bear, moose, snowshoe hare, bobcats, wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, marsh hawks, eagles, and many kinds of songbirds.

Apple Orchard Stewardship Project, Bennington County, Vermont

About the Apple Orchard Stewardship Project

This 47-acre project on the Green Mountain National Forest creates grassy and brushy openings and patches of young forest in a region of largely mature woodland. The Green Mountain National Forest takes in more than 400,000 acres in western Vermont. The U.S. Forest Service oversees timber harvests on the Forest, as well as camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, nature study, and other recreational activities.

McConnell Pond Tract, Essex County, Vermont

About the McConnell Pond Tract

This 4800-acre property in northeastern Vermont formerly belonged to a timber company. In 1994 it was bought by the Conservation Fund, an organization dedicated to managing rural land in ways that will benefit both humans and the environment.

On its eastern edge, the tract shares a 5-mile-long boundary with the 26,000-acre Nulhegan Basin Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. Adjoining both parcels to the south is 2000-acre Wenlock Wildlife Management Area, owned by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

Sullivan County Farm, Sullivan County, New Hampshire

About Sullivan County Farm

This county-owned property is in west-central New Hampshire, in the foothills east of the Connecticut River. Over the next decade, about 60 of the tract’s 673 acres will become a habitat management unit benefiting woodcock and other young-forest wildlife.

The Sullivan County Farm includes active crop and hay fields, old fields growing up in weeds and shrubs, and forest stands of differing ages. The predominant forest type is northern hardwood: beech, birches, red and sugar maple, and red oak, and also white pine.

Freedom Town Forest, Carroll County, New Hampshire

About Freedom Town Forest

In the early 2000s, this 2,661-acre tract in east-central New Hampshire was slated to become a luxury vacation home development. When the developer ran into financial trouble, the Town of Freedom bought the property using public and private funds. Today the land is protected under an easement that permits forest and wildlife management, and recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, and winter sports.

Brouha Property, Caledonia County, Vermont

About the Brouha Property

This old hill farm, in the town of Sutton in northeastern Vermont, borders Calendar Brook Wildlife Management Area. The Brouha property totals 430 acres, much of it pasture that has reverted to forest.

Cutter Property, Grafton County, New Hampshire

About the Cutter Property

This 100-acre tract of private land is in the Connecticut River watershed, near Lyme in west-central New Hampshire. The parcel was heavily logged in the past, and today it is growing back as a young forest of gray birch, aspen, red maple, pin cherry, and other northern hardwood trees, as well as a mix of conifers. The property includes a stream and associated wetland areas. Beavers abound in the area, as do moose, deer, bear, other mammals, and a variety of bird species.

Hanover Water Works, Grafton County, New Hampshire

About Hanover Water Works

This 1,400-acre tract in the Connecticut River Valley of central New Hampshire includes the water supply for the town of Hanover and Dartmouth College. In the early 1900s, the land was mainly farmland; today, it surrounds two reservoirs. Some of the landscape is forested with planted conifers, while other areas have grown up in northern hardwoods. The forest, as well as winding streams and associated wetlands, provide habitat for woodcock and other wildlife including white-tailed deer, moose, bear, wild turkeys, and many migratory and resident bird species.

Johns River Watershed, Coos County, New Hampshire

About the Johns River Watershed

This sprawling region of uplands, rolling hills, wetlands, rivers, and ponds lies in the sparsely populated White Mountains of northern New Hampshire. The Johns River is a major tributary of the Connecticut River. Some of the land in the watershed is farmed, but the vast majority is forested with northern hardwoods, with many acres of aspen and birch, conifers such as spruce and firs, and extensive alder flats. The region provides a rich habitat for wildlife, including large and small mammals and a variety of breeding and migratory birds.

Groton State Forest, Caledonia and Washington Counties, Vermont

About Groton State Forest

This 26,000-acre tract is in the Northern Vermont Piedmont region. People visit Groton State Forest to camp (seven state parks lie within the forest boundary), watch wildlife, hunt, fish, and hike on an extensive trail network.

Crowley Island, Washington County, Maine

About Crowley Island

This two-mile-long, 700-acre island sits in the estuary of the Indian River east of Pleasant Bay in Down East Maine. Tidal flats surrounding the island are important feeding and resting habitats for shorebirds and waterfowl, including black ducks. Crowley Island was once a fishing and farming community, but most residents abandoned the island during the last century. Over time, trees and shrubs grew in, choking the old fields and orchards. Today ruffed grouse, woodcock, migratory and nesting songbirds, deer, bear, moose, and coyotes live on the island.

Green Mountain Audubon Center, Chittenden County, Vermont

About Green Mountain Audubon Center

The Green Mountain Audubon Center is in Chittenden County in western Vermont, south of the town of Richmond. The 255-acre property includes an old farmhouse now used as an office and visitors’ center. In the 1940s the site was a working farm, but since then, many of the fields have grown up to become mature forest stocked with northern hardwoods, white pine, and hemlock. Habitats on the property include wetlands, active beaver ponds, and brushy fields.

Cowls Sawmill & Land Company, Norris Lot, Hampshire County, Massachusetts

About Cowls Sawmill & Land Company Norris Lot

The Norris Lot is in Huntington, Massachusetts, in Hampshire County, in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. The 14.5-acre parcel belongs to Cowls Sawmill and Land Company of North Amherst, Massachusetts. The Norris Lot includes pastures and small woodlots abandoned from one to four decades ago.

Poland Brook Wildlife Management Area, Franklin County, Massachusetts

About Poland Brook WMA

The 664-acre Poland Brook Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is in western Massachusetts in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. It is primarily in the town of Conway, Franklin County. People hike, fish, bird, and hunt on the WMA, which is owned and managed by the Massachusetts Division of Wildlife (MassWildlife).

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, Washington County, Maine

About the Moosehorn

The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge hosts the largest and longest-lived research program into the biology, population dynamics, and habitat needs of the American woodcock.

Cobscook Bay Wildlife Management Area, Washington County, Maine

About Cobscook Bay WMA

Cobscook Bay Wildlife Management Area consists of 10 separate parcels of land along Cobscook Bay in Washington County, in eastern Maine near the Bay of Fundy. Nearly 2,000 acres are protected here, including tidal shoreline, freshwater wetlands, and upland. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) administers the area. Upland habitats include a mix of woods and old farmland that was abandoned around the 1950s. Aspen, alder, birch, and other short-lived, light-loving trees and shrubs have invaded the fields, and many of the former farms’ apple trees remain. MDIFW maintains the old roads and lanes to provide access for management activities, and hiking trails pass through the area.

Lyme Adirondack Forest Company, Adirondack Park, New York

About Lyme Adirondack Forest Company

The Lyme Timber Company of Hanover, N.H., owns and manages The Lyme Adirondack Forest Company, comprising more than 20 tracts totaling approximately 276,000 acres inside Adirondack Park in northern New York. The Adirondack Park includes more that 6 million acres, with 2.7 million acres owned by the state of New York and more than 3 million acres in private ownership. Lyme Adirondack is the largest private landholder in the Park. The company harvests forest products on a sustainable basis while conserving soil, water, and wildlife resources.

Second College Grant, Dartmouth College, Coos County, New Hampshire

About the Second College Grant

In 1807 the state of New Hampshire deeded 27,000 acres (about 46 square miles) of wilderness woodland to Dartmouth College. The Second College Grant is in Coos County in northern New Hampshire about 100 miles north of the Dartmouth campus.

Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Nulhegan Basin Division, Essex County, Vermont

About the Nulhegan

The Nulhegan Basin Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge (usually referred to simply as “the Nulhegan”) lies north of the Nulhegan River in Essex County, northeastern Vermont. The Nulhegan encompasses 26,000 acres (about 40 square miles) of mainly forested land formerly owned by Champion International, a large wood-products company. The forest type is northern hardwoods, dominated by beech, birch, and maple. The area has been logged several times during the past century.