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Correllus State Forest occupies over 5,100 acres
in the center of Martha's Vineyard. It was created in 1908 as the
"Heath Hen Reserve," in an attempt to prevent the bird's
extinction. Sadly, the last heath hen (an eastern subspecies of
the prairie chicken) was seen in 1932. Today it is managed for passive
recreation, mostly hiking and cycling on its 15 miles of bike paths.
It is also the focus of one of the largest environmental restoration
projects in the country. As part of a cooperative effort, the State
Forest is now working to bring back the site's native ecosystem.
The Great Plain that forms much of Martha's Vineyard
supports an unusual concentration of rare species and extensive
examples of several uncommon sand-plain communities, including grasslands,
heathlands, barrens, and woodlands, dominated by mixed oak-pine.
It was the abundance of woodlands and shrublands that enabled the
heath hen to persist here long after they had died out elsewhere
in the northeast. Although widespread land clearing began on Martha's
Vineyard soon after European settlement in the 17th century, settlement
and agriculture were focussed around the perimeter of the island,
and the area that is now the state forest remained wooded with forest
and scrublands for centuries.
Correllus State Forest is located on Martha's Vineyard in south-eastern
Vineyard Haven/Edgartown Rd., right on Barnes Rd., park on left.
For more information