The Equinox Highlands, namely Mount Equinox (3,816 feet) and Mother Myrick Mountain (3,361 feet), are part of the northernmost sweep of the Taconic Mountains, and are considered one of the most important natural areas in the state. The largest rich northern hardwood forest in New England—over 2,000 acres—is located on Mount Equinox, and there is a smaller stand of this natural community type on Mother Myrick Mountain.
The deep humus soil that slowly slips down steep slopes into coves and pockets on these mountains provides a perfect environment for fast-growing hardwood trees and a wide array of spring ephemerals and other wildflowers—bloodroot, hepatica, Dutchman’s breeches, trillium, wild leek, wild ginger, squirrel corn and toothwort.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The large expanse of rich woods and other natural communities including underground caves, calcareous fens and seeps found here are regionally significant. Botanists have long recognized the Equinox Highlands as a treasure trove of rare plants, and ecologists have recently begun to analyze the importance of this area for wide-ranging mammals like bobcats and black bears.
What the Conservancy is Doing
The Conservancy has been working to protect the rich woods in this area since the early 1990s. We continue to conserve land in conjunction with our partners, including the Vermont Land Trust, the Equinox Preservation Trust and the University of Vermont. In the spring of 2002, we produced a brochure for landowners that promotes sustainable logging practices, entitled Managing Rich Northern Hardwood Forests for Ecological Values and Timber Production.