Every year thousands of migratory birds hitch a ride on the Eastern (Atlantic) Flyway, which spans the skies from Maine to Florida. At the northernmost end of the route, many disembark at 23,000-acre Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. Although trees in this region have been significantly logged in the past, today a diverse forest stands here, a woodland of aspen, maple, birch, spruce, and fir with scattered stands of white pine. Once scoured heavily by glaciers, the land of the refuge is primarily low, rolling hills dotted with many lakes, bogs, marshes, streams, and rocky outcroppings.
Established in 1937, Moosehorn is the only refuge where people study and manage the American woodcock, a reclusive bird that hides in dense cover of young forests during the day, feeds in clearings at night, and flies an amazing courtship ritual in spring. Bald eagles frequent the refuge, and black bears and white-tailed deer are common. In November, deer hunting is allowed. Despite the name, moose are not as common as you would expect. Ducks, geese, and loons congregate on more than 50 lakes.
The Wilderness is divided into two units: Edmunds and Birch Islands, both on the rocky Maine coast.
Along the several miles of coast of the Edmunds Unit, 24-foot tidal fluctuations are normal, but only the island portion of the Wilderness is affected. A loop road passes along the boundary of the inland Wilderness, and several old roads give miles of access to the area. Off the old roads, bushwhacking through heavy brush can be a nightmare.
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Moosehorn Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.