Redington Forest Report: Into the Ecological Reserve

Black Nubble.
Forest on the Crocker Mountain plateau – a mix of hardwoods and softwoods.
Pete McKinley, Maine A.T. Land Trust Vice President, puts his scientific skills to good use.
High-elevation spruce-fir forest.
Former log landing from timber harvesting operations.

The land trust paid the season’s final visit to the Redington Forest property in the High Peaks region in mid-November.  This area has a great variety of ecological zones which includes brook trout streams, upland wetlands, ponds, forests of all types and mountainous terrain.  The last category includes an area which covers most of the Crocker Mountain range and which will be classified as an ecological reserve area once the project is complete.  It is to this area that Pete McKinley, land trust Vice President and Wilderness Society ecologist, and Simon Rucker, land trust Executive Director, headed to a few weeks ago.

The area is difficult to access, and after leaving the truck when it could go no further, the two eventually left the logging roads at approximately 2700 feet and proceeded up through former harvesting areas to a large area of Aspen-Birch Forest on the shoulder of Crocker Mountain.  According to Maine Natural Areas Program Ecologist Andy Cutko, there was probably a forest fire on this plateau roughly 60-70 years ago, resulting in the glade of aspens with an understory of spruce and fir (see photo above).  There was evidence of charcoal in the soil on this visit and the forest is in great health as it regenerates.  It is a prime area for game and is truly a special spot.

At about 3,000 feet in elevation, after reaching the subalpine forest area, the rain showers that had lingered for most of the day turned to sleet and the two decided to turn back.  The weather conditions at this time of year prevent extended field study, and there was a hike of approximately two miles to get back to the truck.

There’s much more to be studied and documented at Redington Forest no matter which season.  Check our website and we’ll have a winter update in the New Year.