MARLBORO — The Hogback Mountain Conservation Association will meet at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, to examine conservation efforts started nearly 10 years ago. Hikers will attempt to find signs of use by wildlife, count how many bird nests there are in the ESH patches, and photograph animal tracks. Parking is available in the big lot on the north side of Route 9 across from the distillery.
Ten years ago, the Hogback Mountain Conservation Association started a multi-year Early Successional Habitat program in the Hogback Mountain Conservation Area in Marlboro to try to generate a variety of wildlife niches on the mountain. The group picked several of the overgrown ski slopes and cut back the trees and shrubs, hoping to stimulate the growth of ESH, also known as “young forest,” which can be very attractive to certain birds, mammals, amphibians, and insects.
Hikers should bring snowshoes or cleats as appropriate for the snow conditions. Skis will not be appropriate for this hike. Hikers may end up bushwhacking through some dense growth. (Go-around routes that stay on the trails will be available for those who don’t want to bushwhack, but hikers might miss seeing some interesting things.) The group will try to visit the Meadow (cut 2013-14), the Great White Way (cut 2015-2016), and the Practice Slope (cut 2017-2018). The group will aim to return to the parking lot by noon. Hikers will be led by Diana Todd.