Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 5 : Summer 2010 - Page 43

undertaken by the Maine Conservation Corps from 20072009. The MCC, with assistance from BPL staff, installed stone steps, a wooden footbridge, switchbacks, water bars and opened up scenic vistas. For the stouthearted the former fire tower provides expansive views of the region. In addition to the Deboullie Pond trail loop the recently completed Black Mtn. trail loop offer hikers long distance (5-9 miles) options. Both loop trails have scenic vistas offering panoramic views of the Unit. “Ice caves” (narrow, shaded crevices where snow and ice can remain year-round) can be found on both loops. The trailhead for the tower trail and the two loops is located at the east end of Deboullie Pond. There is also a trail from Denny Pond that connects to the Deboullie Pond trail loop and to the Gardner Pond trail. Several short trails provide access to ponds and to Red River Falls. During the winter months the public access road provides a connector trail between the ITS snowmobile trails in Portage and the ITS snowmobile trails in Allagash. In 2000 a 7,253-acre Ecological Reserve was designated on the Unit, an area that encompasses the shorelines and waters of 11 ponds. These ecosystems will remain in their natural condition and be monitored periodically to document changes. Maine’s only population of Arctic Sandwort (Minuartia rubella) is found on the talus slopes within the Ecological Reserve. Other rare plants found on the Unit include fragrant cliff wood-fern, few-flowered spikerush, alpine rush, northern slender pondweed, northern woodsia and smooth woodsia. 93% of the Unit is forested, with 33% in softwood, 42% in mixedwood and 25% in hardwood. The Bureau of Parks and Lands manages the public lands to achieve multiple benefits – public recreation, wildlife habitats and timber sales (revenues help fund land management). BPL’s forest practices are green-certified by two independent auditors, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). The Northern Region office is located in Ashland at the Department of Conservation Headquarters, telephone number 207 435-7963.