The Reforestation Program

H. Eames © Copyright 1997

Washington County forests were heavily harvested in the late 18th and 19th centuries, as were surrounding areas of the great northeast forest. Vigorous regrowth has already made the 100 plus acres of woodland on the Sanctuary look, once again, like forest. The simplest and best approach to reforestation is to let it happen with minimal human interference. As the photo above expresses, the young growth will make use of the former pattern of exploitation without any help from humans.The present composition of the woods has changed in two centuries; the over-exploitation of species such as Black Walnut and Cherry has reduced the present numbers of these trees. The Chestnut Blight has virtually eliminated American Chestnut trees, which were once the dominant species of the forest. And Dutch Elm Disease has decimated the treasured American Elm. Using disease-resistant trees from the Elm Research Institute, the Sanctuary has planted some Liberty Elms in order to reestablish the presence of this species. Some Black Walnuts have been planted and Cherry is encouraged through the trimming of invasive vine growth. In the summer of 1998, the Sanctuary began reintroducing the American Chestnut in its blight-resistant strain.