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The Clintonville pitch pine-heath barrens sit on a sand delta deposited 12,000 years ago by glacial melt water. The sandy, well-drained soil gives life to the unique pine barrens natural community.
This is one of the best examples of a pitch pine-heath barrens community in New York. It provides habitat to rare plants including the prairie redroot, and two rare moths--the pine pinion moth and the Acadian swordgrass moth. It is this combination that makes the site of particular interest to The Nature Conservancy.
Spotted wintergreen is a perennial, evergreen herb native to North America. The nearly pinkish, round flowers, which appear in late July to early August, are found on top of tall stalks.
The preserve is open to the public for hiking, cross-country skiing, and nature study. A preserve guide is available from the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Adirondack Land Trust office and at the trail register.
Two species that are present that you probably won't see are the pine pinion moth and the Acadian swordgrass moth. These moths are active at night and are sensitive to light. This may be the only site in New York where the pine pinion moth is found.
Many of the plant species at Clintonville actually require fire in order to reproduce or survive competition from non-fire-adapted species. This is especially true of pitch pine trees. Fire burns the pines' fallen needles and debris, releasing nutrients that prepare a seedbed for the regeneration of the forest, and it provides the heat necessary to open the cones and release seeds. Pitch pine is also capable of sprouting needles from buds underneath the thick bark after exposure to fire.
Other trees on the preserve include maples and oaks. You will also find numerous plants and shrubs including blueberry, huckleberry, sheep laurel, sweet fern, bearberry, wintergreen, and pipsissewa.
This 900-acre preserve is located in Clintonville, NY, north of Ausable Forks, in the northeastern part of the Adirondack Park.
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