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Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge Self-Guided Trail

Welcome to Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge! Use this mobile-friendly, self-guided trail guide to explore 15 different stations along the trails, each featuring highlights of this natural space.

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On your hike, please stay on the trail to avoid contact with Poison Ivy, its leaves, and its hairy vine, which may cause an allergic reaction. Also, check yourself for deer ticks after your hike, as they carry Lyme disease and live in the tall grass.

Station Locations Map

Station 6: Succession
Although succession is controlled in the field, it has been left unchecked here since the closing of the farm. This area used to be a pasture, but when the grazing by livestock stopped, it became overgrown. White Pines began to grow and then deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves) sprouted up in their shade. The many dead trees, or snags, among the pines are important habitats for birds and insects.

Station 8: Pitch Pine
On your way up towards the Pine Grove from the junction of the orange and blue trails, you come upon a pitch pine.  The Pitch Pine is unique in how it reacts to fire.  It has thick, fireproof bark and if its needles burn, it can regenerate branches and foliage.  Its twigs and pine needles do not decompose very quickly and can serve as tinder.  The occasional wildfire benefits the tree by wiping out non fire-resilient competing species and by causing the cones to

Station 9: Huckleberry vs. Blueberry
While it is commonly thought that a shrub with bluish berries is a Blueberry bush and a shrub with more purplish berries is a Huckleberry bush, this is not always the case.  In front of you are both a Huckleberry bush and a Blueberry bush; can you tell which is which?  The Huckleberry bush has the brown stem and the Blueberry bush has the green stem.  Despite their differences, both the Huckleberry bush and the Blueberry bush provide food for wildlife such as turkeys, deer, and grey foxes. 


Station 12: Bridge
You are now standing in a wetland.  Wetlands are areas of land that are either saturated or covered with water such as swamps, bogs, and marshes.  Wetlands provide important ecological services and are therefore valuable to both wildlife and humans.  They filter debris, toxins, and excess nutrients out of the water; mix nutrients and oxygen into the water; neutralize toxic substances; prevent flooding by absorbing water; and provide great habitats.  Wetlands serve as nurseries for the young of many insects, crustaceans, amphibians, and reptiles, as they provide both shelter and food.  Wetlands are also great nesting, resting, and wintering places for migratory birds.  Various plants, such as White Violets, Sphagnum Moss, and Skunk Cabbage, also populate the wetland.