Rare Forest Project
The Podooc Rare Forest Project was a project proposed and developed between 2014 and 2016 for Lake George Regional Park, Canaan, Maine. Unfortunately, a 2016 change in park management put an end to the project just as ground was being broken. Other locations are currently being sought out.
The Podooc Rare Forest Project is an experiment in creating a living museum Maine’s rare, endangered and extirpated native plant species. Over the coming years, the project is to be distributed along various sites throughout Lake George Regional Park making use of both existing and reclaimed habitats. As a living museum, the project will provide the public with a unique blend of educational and ADA compliant recreational experiences that seek to promote the health and well-being of individuals and an appreciation for the natural systems on which we all depend. As an ongoing research project, PRFP will host ecology and conservation research, while providing an essential communicative bridge between the general public and the efforts of scientists to recapture lost plant diversity of Maine’s forests.
Maine is known for its vast wilderness, but Maine has not escaped the effects of pollution, habitat loss, deforestation, over-harvesting, disease, climate change and other threats that plague ecosystems the world over. As a result of these factors and others, many of Maine’s native plant and animal species common only a century ago are now either rare or have been entirely eradicated from the state. While many people may think of the caribou, eastern cougar, the gray wolf, or the humpback whale when regarding extirpated and endangered species of Maine, fewer people think of plant life that has met a similar fate.
The Rare Forest Project is conceptualized as a living museum which will provide visitors with an ecologically functioning forest garden of the region’s rare, endangered and extirpated native plant species. The project also looks to the future in hopes of providing seed and stock for further efforts toward recapturing lost plant diversity of Maine’s forests.