Those seeking a taste of wilderness along Maine's coast will enjoy exploring the Cutler Coast Public Lands, a 12,234-acre expanse of blueberry barrens, woodlands and peatlands with 4.5 miles of headlands (interspersed by pocket coves and cobble beaches) overlooking the Bay of Fundy. Hikers can enjoy 10 miles of trails, three remote tent sites and spectacular views from the property's steep cliffs-part of the dramatic "Bold Coast" that extends from Cutler to Lubec.
Cool, damp and windy conditions along the coast tend to stunt tree growth and favor species that normally would occur in alpine and sub-alpine terrain such as Hooker's iris, bird's eye primrose and baked appleberry. Birders have recorded nearly 200 species on or near the Cutler Coast. According to www.mainebirdingtrail.com, warblers, chickadees, golden-crowned kinglets and six species of owls frequent the woods, while seabirds and ravens nest along shoreline ledges. Offshore, from early summer to early fall, visitors may spot seals, porpoises and occasional humpback, finback, northern right and minke whales.
The lands north of Route 191 have several raised coastal peatlands (also known as bogs or heaths)-a plant community not usually found south of Canada. The bogs support an array of fascinating plants, including some sub-arctic and arctic species (such as Labrador tea) and carnivorous plants (such as pitcher plants and sundew) that draw nourishment from insects-rather than the acidic water and nutrient-poor soils.
The grassland "barrens," which were traditionally kept open by burning, contain species such as blue joint grass, flat-topped aster, alder and meadowsweet and support bobolinks and savannah sparrows. Due to the presence of bluejoint meadows and other exemplary natural communities such as huckleberry-crowberry bog and maritime spruce-fir-larch forest, Maine designated 5,216 acres of the property as an Ecological Reserve. The Reserve helps to maintain these representative ecosystems in their natural condition and allow for monitoring of ecological changes over time.
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