Wheelock, Vermont 05851
Steam Mill Brook Wildlife Management Area guide and map
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Steam Mill Brook Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is a 10,826-acre tract of land owned by the State of Vermont and managed by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. The land lies in Caledonia County in the towns of Walden, Stannard, Wheelock, and Danville.
The WMA can be accessed from a number of places including Stannard Mountain Road, Coles Pond Road in Walden and Danville, and Rock Road.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department purchased the majority of the property in 1971. Smaller parcels were added in later years, and Wheelock Mountain was added in 1996. Much of the WMA was previously owned by the Fairbanks Scales Company and was an important timber source for their large factory in nearby St. Johnsbury.
Steam Mill Brook bisects the WMA, and in the late 19th century it supplied power to at least six sawmills along its banks and tributaries. Many old mill, barn, house and school foundations, along with stone walls, remnant fields, and apple trees are testimony to what was once a bustling community tucked away in the remote hills of Walden.
Habitat Features Steam Mill Brook WMA is located in the southern part of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The terrain is typical for the region, with rolling mountains, hills, and plateaus. Elevations range from 1,600 feet along the southern boundary to 2,783 feet on Wheelock Mountain. The WMA is dominated by forestland, a mixture of northern hardwoods (beech, yellow birch, and sugar maple) and red spruce-balsam fir forests. Intermingled with the forests are 288 acres of wetland habitats, comprised of alder swales, streams, beaver flowages, and several ponds, including Coles Pond. Steam Mill Brook originates from Stannard Pond and runs south through the length of the WMA.
Many management practices are used to promote habitat diversity. These include mowing fields and openings, maintaining apple trees, regenerating and thinning timber stands, retaining mast stands and snags, and wetland buffer protection.
Ruffed grouse may be found near regenerating forests, remnant clearings, and apple trees. Many species of upland songbirds can be found in various cover types, including hayfields, wetlands, regenerating forests, and mature timber. Ambitious birders may observe black-backed woodpeckers and blackpoll warblers, which are uncommon to the region.
From Steam Mill Brook Wildlife Management Area guide and map