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Mahoosucs Unit

Grafton Twp, Riley Twp

Photo: Mahoosuc Notch

Vital Statistics

  • Size: 9,993 acres
  • Regulated: 733 acres
  • Non-Regulated: 9,241 acres
  • Upland: 9,980 acres
  • Forested Wetland (NWI): 0 acres
  • Non-Forested Wetland: 2 acres
  • Open Water: 11 acres
  • Roads: trails-20 miles
  • Biophysical Mahoosucs/Rangeley Lakes
  • BPL Region: West
Map showing location of Mahoosucs Ecoreserve

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Exemplary Natural Communities

Scientific Name Common Name State Rank Global Rank
Beech - Birch - Maple Forest Northern Hardwoods Forest S4 G3G5
Labrador Tea Talus Dwarf - Shrubland Cold Air Talus Slope S2 G3G5
Spruce - Northern Hardwoods Forest Spruce - Northern Hardwoods Forest S4 GNR
Red Spruce - Mixed Conifer Woodland Spruce - Pine Woodland S4 G3G5
Fir - Heart-leaved Birch Subalpine Forest Subalpine Fir Forest S3 GNR

Rare Plants

Scientific Name Common Name State Rank Global Rank State Status
Vaccinium boreale Alpine Blueberry S2 G4 SC
Anthoxanthum monticola Alpine Sweet Grass S1 G5 T
Minuartia groenlandica Mountain Sandwort S3 G5 SC
Photo: Screw Auger Falls, Mahoosuc Unit

Rare Animals

There are no documented occurrences of rare animals within this Ecoreserve. For more information on rare animals in Maine, visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.


Extending from 1120 feet to 3980 feet in elevation, the Mahoosuc ecological reserve is second to only Bigelow in elevational gradient, and it is one of the three largest state reserves. Most of the reserve (8,458 acres) has been classified as sub-alpine forest, and 259 acres have been classified as alpine ridge -- the most alpine habitat of any of the thirteen ecological reserves. This alpine ridge, traversed by the Appalachian Trail, supports numerous populations of rare plants. Mahoosuc Notch, a notoriously difficult section of the Appalachian Trail, passes through a jumble of boulders known as a rare Cold Air Talus Slope community, where cold air drainage results in ice chunks remaining through the summer months.

Less than 10% of the reserve was classified as regulated timberland, primarily the hardwood and mixed wood stands on the lower slopes. Most of these stands have been selectively harvested in the past, but some areas, including a beech-birch-maple forest in Mahoosuc Notch, show no evidence of cutting. At intermediate elevations, some transitional conifer-dominated stands also show no signs of past harvesting, with trees over 245 years old.

Photo: Large yellow birch tree at Mahoosuc Unit

The reserve also includes the 10-acre, 37 foot deep Speck Pond, a sub-alpine tarn. Only two acres within the reserve is wetland.


  • Mahoosuc Management Unit-Management Plan. 1998. Department of Conservation Bureau of Public Lands, Augusta, Maine. 58 pp.
Photo: Trout Restoration project at Mahoosuc Unit Photo: Steep slope at Mahoosuc Notch Photo: Mahoosuc Notch rock face Photo: Rock face at Mahoosuc Notch