CC Putnam State Forest: Adaptation on the Perry Hill Block

Yes
Planning

The Long-Range Management Plan is being revised and will include climate change adaptation considerations.

Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources is currently developing a Long-Range Management Plan for the lands which make up 15,510 acres of the Worcester Range Management Unit.  Those lands include C.C. Putnam State Forest (13,470 acres), Elmore State Park (940 acres) and Middlesex Wildlife Management Area (290 acres by conservation easement), Middlesex Notch Wildlife Management Area (627 acres) and Worcester Woods Wildlife Management Area (184 acres). As part of this planning region, natural resource professionals are considering the potential effects of climate change on the area, with a focus on the block of lands surrounding Perry Hill on the C.C. Putnam State Forest.

The Perry Hill Block, which is about 370 acres in size, is managed for a variety of uses. The area includes a popular recreation area with numerous mountain bike trails. Other activities on the property include: providing areas for deer wintering habitat, managing for the sustainable production of forest products, and controlling the spread of invasive plants.

Contact: Maria Janowiak

Climate Change and the Perry Hill Block

During a Forest Adaptation Planning and Practices training, managers considered numerous anticipated effects from climate change. A few impacts stood out as having the greatest potential to impact the area, including:

  • A shorter winter season, reduced snowfall, and less consistent snowpack
  • More frequent heavy precipitation events or intense storms, which increase the potential for erosion in areas with mountain bike trails and sandy or shallow soils
  • Increases in insect pests and forest pathogens
  • Potential northern migration of softwood component, replaced by red oak (deer wintering area management)
  • Increases in exotic invasive plant species

Adaptation Actions and Project Outcomes

Managers are currently working to prepare assessments of the management area as a first step to updating the Long-Range Management Plan. After these assessments are completed, management actions will be proposed that help to meet management goals while also helping to adapt forests to changing conditions. It is expected that some of the proposed actions will focus on improving the quality of the trails to bring them up to sustainable standards, which would help to reduce the susceptibility of trails to erosion from extreme rain events.

Current Project Status

Managers are currently assessing the current condition of the management area as a first step to updating the Long-Range Management Plan. After these assessments are completed, management actions will be identified that help to meet management goals while also helping to adapt forests to changing climate conditions.

Last updated: May 27, 2014