THE FOREST, MEADOWS AND WETLANDS OF THE MCLEAN RESERVE
The McLean Reserve is a natural “common” that provides immeasurable benefit and value to the peace and enjoyment of all the Association members. It has been maintained for nearly 60 years as a natural buffer against an increasingly urbanized surrounding area and is home to a rich variety of amphibian, reptilian, avian and mammalian wildlife. A walking trail system runs nearly the entire north-south length of the Point through interesting and diverse terrain.
The reserve is made up of three distinct compartments;
– Forest/Mixed Upland Hardwoods,
– Wooded Wetland/Swamp.
Each compartment has its own unique features, ecosystem and range of flora & fauna.In a single day families can experience the delights of catching a frog or finding tadpoles in the wetland; they can hike the forest nature trails or walk the mown pathways that meander through the meadows where countless birds, butterflies and dragonflies can be seen and foxes and deer occasionally glimpsed.
Even though the McLean Reserve is a “natural common”, certain management practices have been followed according to the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program. These practices, briefly listed below, are in place to enhance our community’s enjoyment of the reserve while promoting a healthy forest and protecting the habitats of our resident wildlife.
Mixed Upland Hardwoods:
Trilliums in McLean Reserve
The Mixed Hardwood Forest represents about 70% of the 62 acre McLeanReserve. Periodic culling of poor quality, diseased or hazardous trees will be an ongoing process.Den trees, windfalls and slash will be left for wildlife habitat and to restore the soil.Nature trails are maintained as single-file pathways for walking while minimizing human impact on flora & fauna. Trails are regularly inspected for, and cleared of poison ivy. The forest area is also monitored for trash and yard waste that may introduce invasive plants.
Projects to remove established invasive plants and trees such as periwinkle, garlic mustard and buckthorn are underway. Volunteers from the community are welcome to assist and are encouraged to check the “Events” column for upcoming spring, summer and fall sessions.
Closely mown meadow pathways
The Meadowlands represent less than 10% of the McLean Reserve.Succession (the gradual encroachment of shrubs and trees into open fields) has significantly reduced the amount of meadowland over the past 60+ years. Tree plantings in the 1960s, done to benefit from an earlier tax incentive program, also diminished the meadows.While some would prefer that the open fields be left to return to forest, many others wish to have the small remaining amount of meadow preserved.
For the past few years, maintenance activities for this compartment include one annual rough mowing of the entire meadowlands in mid-July. The timing of the cut ensures at least one nesting of native grassland birds and minimizes disturbance to other fauna including important native insect populations.
This cut is sufficient to maintain the quality open space zones (prevent the encroachment of trees and shrubs) for their aesthetic qualities, vistas and habitat diversity.In addition to the rough mowing and in order to allow for much easier walking through the grasses from spring to fall, a network of regularly mown trails that traverse the meadows was instituted in 2006.
The two Wetland areas together represent about 20% of the McLean Reserve.Although the maintenance of this compartment is presently minimal, the long term objectives are to manage the wetlands as special, important natural features in the overall ecosystem and to develop a greater awareness and appreciation for wetlands through newsletters, speakers/guided tours.
Wetlands are one of the most undervalued ecosystems and yet they provide a range of vital services. They soak up rainfall, filter water, provide a unique habitat for many different species and are an important refuge for migrating birds.
Wetlands are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth.
For these reasons it is very important that the Eight Mile Point community values and respects this significant component of the McLean Reserve.
Please refrain from depositing yard waste, construction waste or anything in the wetlands.