Our wooded hillside, once cleared for pasture, corn and other crops, is now a mature forest. Two trails give access to this area. The Birch Overlook Trail climbs to a rocky outcropping that provides a fine view across the valley to Mt. Anthony then drops to a kettle pond. The Woodland Loop forges off the Birch Overlook, swings through the forest and returns to the Overlook at the outcropping. Along the trail, look for signs of the former farm—stone fences, the plot of maple trees that were once a sugarbush, piles of small rocks that were cleared to make way for a plow, and “line trees” – stately, old trees that defined the edges of the fields and croplands.
Today, the forest is managed for wildlife habitat and education. Mast trees–beech, oak, butternut, apple and other trees providing nuts or fruit for wildlife—are released from competition of non-fruit producing trees and vines. Invasive shrubs and vines, typical of grown-up farmland, threaten the health of this forest, too. Their spread is being controlled by a regular program of eradication.