Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve Inducted into Old-Growth Forest Network
For immediate release: August 24, 2020
On Saturday, August 22nd, 2020 Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve in Kingston was formally inducted into the Old-Growth Forest Network. Sarah RobbGrieco, Northeast Regional Manager for the Old-Growth Forest Network, presented a plaque to Joe Falconeiri, Southern New England Land Steward for the Northeast Wilderness Trust, to celebrate the dedication of their protected forest.
Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve is 322 acres, including a 48-acre Coastal Plain Pond and 273 acres of forestland. The Preserve is conserved in perpetuity as wilderness by the Northeast Wilderness Trust. Management of the land is kept to an absolute minimum so that the property can rewild and offer a peaceful home for wild animals and plants. Visitors are welcome to explore the Preserve’s trails on foot to experience the beautiful wildlife that live in Muddy Pond and its forest. A new interpretive sign at the entrance to the Preserve welcomes the public and illustrates the diverse, rare ecosystem found within.
The forest at Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve is an Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens; the dominant tree species are pitch pine and several types of oak. While it is not yet an old-growth forest, the Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens are home to rare and diverse flora and fauna. The forest offers habitat for birds of prey, waterfowl, songbirds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and more. Depending on the time of year, a hiker might spot insects that are unique to this ecosystem, such as the Pine Barrens Bluet and the threatened Water Willow Borer. Or, they may get to see the blossoms of the rare Plymouth gentian or the globally endangered New England boneset. Throughout the forest there are more than 25 verified vernal pools, which give life to an abundance of frogs, toads, salamanders, and insects each spring. Northeast Wilderness Trust is working with Massachusetts Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program to evaluate other potential vernal pools on the land.
“Through this work, we’re not only protecting a rare forest as forever-wild, we’re also connecting residents to the beauty and awe of this incredible ecosystem,” explained Joe Falconeiri, who brings local high school and middle school students to the land as a living outdoor classroom for biology, history, and connection to nature.
The mission of the Old-Growth Forest Network (OGFN) is to connect people with nature by creating a national network of protected, mature, publicly accessible, native forests. The organization’s goal is to preserve at least one forest in every county in the United States that can sustain a forest, estimated to be 2,370 out of a total of 3,140 counties. OGFN’s program works to identify forests for the Network, ensure their protection from logging, and connect people to these properties to experience old-growth forests. OGFN also educates about the extraordinary ecological and human wellness benefits of old-growth forests, and speaks out regarding immediate threats to specific ancient forests.
Founded in 2012, OGFN has over 100 forests in 23 states currently in the Network. Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve will be the third Massachusetts forest to join the Old-Growth Forest Network. It will join Mohawk Trail State Forest in Franklin County and The Rivulet at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Hampshire County. The full list of forests in the Network may be viewed at www.oldgrowthforest.net.
Sarah RobbGrieco states, “We are thrilled to be adding this beautiful forest to the Network as the forest representative for Plymouth County. We especially love working with the Northeast Wilderness Trust because they are the only regional land trust that protects all their lands in perpetuity as Forever Wild.”
OGFN depends on a volunteer in each U.S. county to help identify and induct forests into the Network. Dover resident, Bob Simek is a volunteer supporter of the Old Growth Forest Network and our County Coordinator for Plymouth County. Interested volunteers are welcome to contact OGFN through www.oldgrowthforest.net.