The National Forest Foundation is working in partnership to implement several projects this year across the 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest. This season’s work has expanded our footprint to all three forest districts and focuses on wildlife habitat protection, recreational trail and infrastructure enhancements, and youth engagement.
The Androscoggin District, located in the northern part of the White Mountain National Forest, is home to various wildlife species. However, many of these treasured New England species, such as wood ducks, loons, and bears, face multiple threats, resulting in an additional need for support to protect their vital habitats. Therefore, in 2023, the NFF will support the installation of wood duck boxes, loon rafts, and bear boxes at several campsites across the area. Introducing these handcrafted structures will help ensure that wood ducks and loons have adequate nesting sites, and will deter the number of bears that enter recreation areas.
NFF is also thrilled to continue fostering stronger youth engagement, citizen science, and a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Northeast. This season, collaborations with Groundwork Rhode Island’s Youth Green Team will continue with trail maintenance at the Pemigewasset District’s Smart’s Brook Mountain Bike Trail and aims to expand its relationship with Groundwork Lawrence as well.
In addition to partnerships centered around trail enhancements, NFF aims to collaborate with the Appalachian Mountain Club and local youth groups to bolster more significant support for the Dragonfly Mercury Program. This program engages citizen scientists in collecting dragonfly larvae for mercury analysis. The White Mountain National Forest is the first National Forest to participate in the program, and support of this work will help establish the Forest as a long-term monitoring site for mercury, supporting baseline conditions in the Northeast that could inform effectiveness evaluation or changes in national and global emissions.
NFF is also collaborating with several local conservation groups and key partners on recreational infrastructure projects. For example, in the Saco District, located primarily in southeastern NH, NFF will partner with Appalachian Mountain Club and Northwoods Stewardship Center to make vital trail improvements to the Presidential & Dry River Trails; this work includes a focus on Dry River, Rocky Branch, Mount Isolation, Mount Clinton, Dry River Cut-off, Mount Eisenhower, Mount Isolation, and the Davis Path. NFF is also working with a regional contractor to assess more than a dozen remote and historically significant backcountry structures, including Adirondack-style lean-tos, shelters, and fire towers.