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White Mountain National Forest–Bartlett Experimental Forest

Birding in New Hampshire

Bartlett Experimental Forest
White Mountain National Forest

Bartlett, New Hampshire 03812
Bartlett Experimental Forest webpage
White Mountain National Forest website

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Carroll County

White Mt. NF–Bartlett Experimental Forest
Coordinates: 44.0540609, -71.2958944
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About Bartlett Experimental Forest
The Bartlett Experimental Forest is the site of research to answer questions about ecological structure, function, and process in New England’s northern hardwood forests and to provide guidelines for managing timber and wildlife habitat. The Bartlett is within the Saco Ranger District of the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire and is managed by the Northern Research Station at Durham, New Hampshire. Established in 1931, it encompasses 1,052 ha but will likely double in size with the forest plan revision that is being written. The forest extends from the Village of Bartlett in the Saco River Valley at 207 m to about 915 m elevation at its upper reaches. Aspects across the forest are primarily north and east.

The White Mountain National Forest, including the Bartlett, was purchased under the Weeks Act of 1911. In the late 19th century, the area was selectively logged for high-value species, first eastern white pine and red spruce and later sugar maple and yellow birch. Logging railroads were laid and hardwood stands were clearcut for locomotive fuel. The lower third of the Bartlett was logged and some portions were cleared for pasture. Upper portions were progressively less impacted with increasing elevation. Although fires are relatively rare, the 1938 hurricane did widespread damage. High-grading resulted in more American beech, so that when the beech scale-Nectria complex (beech bark disease), arrived in the 1940s, it caused substantial damage and continues to influence stand dynamics. An ice storm in 1998 was the most recent widespread natural disturbance, affecting mostly higher elevation stands. Occasional windstorms are common, but of relatively small scale.
From Bartlett Experimental Forest webpage

About White Mountain National Forest
In the decades prior to 1911, the unregulated logging practices of private timber companies in the White Mountains had resulted in a damaged landscape susceptible to both fire and flood. Fires had burned thousands of acres, and flash floods affected the water power necessary to the mills of major industrial centers downstream, such as Manchester, New Hampshire and Lowell, Massachusetts. Concerns over losses to industry, business, and tourism, and the growing conservation movement led to citizen action. The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF) spearheaded an effort to ensure permanent protection of the White Mountains from further depredation. After years of lobbying and intense public pressure, Senator John Weeks of Massachusetts, a native of Lancaster, New Hampshire, introduced legislation that became known as the Weeks Act. The Weeks Act was passed by Congress in 1911, appropriating 9 million dollars to purchase 6 million acres of land in the Eastern U.S. In turn, this led to the creation of the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) in 1918, and twenty-one other national forests throughout the north and southeast. Many of the groups who were instrumental in the passage of the Weeks Act, including the SPNHF and the AMC, are still active today, and the WMNF has grown from 7,000 acres to almost 800,000. Today, the reforested mountains and hillsides supply forest products and provide magnificent recreational opportunities while maintaining healthy watersheds and ecosystems.
From White Mountain National Forest webpage