Visitors to the Hubbardton River Clayplain Forest will find no giant trees. Rather they will discover more than 200 acres of wet meadowland that has been planted with over 50,000 foot-tall bur oak, green ash, red maple and other native Vermont tree seedlings over the last decade.
It is TNC's hope that within the next century this restoration effort will result in a mature clayplain forest—recreating in a small way a natural community that once sprawled from the southernmost end of the Lake Champlain Valley north to the lowlands of Quebec—one that is now considered a rare natural community in the state.
This new forest will offer valuable ecosystem services to the human community. It will help conserve the Hubbardton River, which cuts through the preserve, and the mature clayplain forest with its abundant mast trees provide food and cover to many species of wildlife, such as deer and turkey. This growing educational resource will also serve as a classroom for high school and college classes by providing firsthand experiences of the many varied restoration techniques and projects that have been implemented on the preserve.
Why TNC Selected This Site
“One of the reasons why TNC was interested in this land is because there was already a large patch of existing clayplain forest at the edge of this property, actually one of the best remaining examples in the Champlain Valley," says Mary Droege, TNC’s Director of Ecological Management and Restoration. “Since 2004, we’ve been planting seedling trees in the adjacent fields with the intent of making this particular clayplain forest patch bigger. Bigger means stronger—and more viable in the long term. We are giving the forest a jump start, while also conducting a formal experiment to see how best to re-grow a clayplain forest.”