This large, relatively intact tract of forest is mostly state-owned
and includes the Moose River Plains Wild Forest and Blue Ridge
Wilderness Area. The area includes the watershed of the Moose River,
a tributary of the Black River. It is generally undisturbed and includes
numerous mountains with sub-alpine habitats as well as lakes and
ponds. The area holds a diverse group of productive habitats, including
dense stands of mixed growth woodlands, flat lands, open woodlands,
and black spruce bogs. According to the NY GAP land cover data,
approximately 95% of the site is forest, which includes sugar maple
mesic, evergreen northern hardwood, deciduous wetland, evergreen
plantation, spruce fir, and evergreen wetland forests.

Ornithological Summary

This area contains some of the best lowland boreal forests and wetlands
in the western Adirondacks, and is on the southern periphery of the
range of many boreal forest birds. The area supports a number of
characteristic boreal birds including the Black-backed Woodpecker,
Olive-sided Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Gray Jay, Common
Raven, and Boreal Chickadee. Within the area there are a number
of mountains over 3,500 feet in elevation, and breeding Bicknell?s
Thrushes have been documented. The area contained the state?s last
known natural Golden Eagle nesting site.

Conservation Issues

Much of this area has been state designated a Wild Forest and Wilderness
Area and is popular for outdoor recreation such as snowmobiling,
camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting. Privately-owned portions of
this site should be protected from forest-fragmenting development.
Sustainable forest management on the private holdings has potential
to provide habitat for species requiring successional forest habitats or
disturbed forests. Snowmobiling is particularly popular, with 30,000-
40,000 visitors participating per year. Illegal ATV use seems to be
increasing. More research is needed on whether bird populations are
negatively impacted by the current types and levels of recreational
use. Acid rain has had a negative impact on the forest and lake
ecosystems, though its long-term effects on birds are unclear. Acid
rain deposition may be having an impact on the nesting success of
songbirds, particularly at high elevations, by killing snails and other
edible sources of calcium needed for egg production. More research is
needed on this as well. The curtailment of sulphur dioxide emissions
and the reduction of acid rain is currently a significant New York State
initiative. A detailed inventory and standardized monitoring of atrisk
species is needed for the area. Specifically, peaks above 2,800 feet
should be surveyed for Bicknell?s Thrush.

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