Come on a journey with us as we explore Harvard Forest through this tour of the French Road Trail.
Instructions: Click on the buttons below the map to navigate to a specific stop.
At each stop, the buttons below the descriptions give historical and scientific details.
Then and Now
You are surrounded by historical and scientific sites of Harvard Forest and standing on the land that was once farmland in the late 18th century. Let's explore some of the buildings you see here.
|1 Fisher Meteorological Station|
|2 Raup House|
|3 Fisher House|
|4 Stone Wall|
The trees at Harvard Forest are typical of New England sites that have reforested after two centuries of colonial agriculture. Let's learn what species have come to dominate Harvard Forest.
|1 Hardwood and Conifer Trees|
There is evidence the ecosystems here were disturbed by a fierce microburst windstorm and by human activity. Researchers are studying the dynamics of disturbed forests and the hungry, hooved animals who like to dine on them.
|1 Snapped and Uprooted Trees|
|2 Former Red Pine Plantation|
|3 Stone Wall|
Colonial Rest Stop
From the French Road, the stone foundation of what was once the French Road Inn is visible. If you lived in the 18th century, maybe you would hae stopped at the French Road Inn for refreshment. If you visited in the 19th century, the building was a farmhouse instead of a tavern.
|1 French Road Inn Stone Foundation|
|2 Barn Foundation|
|3 Bent Tree|
Dying or dead tres that have not yet fallen are referred to as snags. What do you think created the small round holes you see on the trees?
|2 Private Hiking Trail|
|3 Tagged Trees|
When walking, don't forget to look down once in a while. Forests are home to a variety of plants along the forest floor that like the shade provided by the canopies of the trees.
|1 Forest Floor|
It is common across Massachusetts to see plantations. Look on the right and notice how all of the trunks have forest-grown characteristics and are of the same species.
|1 Red Pine Plantation|
The eastern hemlock is an ecologically important tree, but today hemlock forests are imperiled by an invasive insect called the hemlock woolly adelgid. As the adelgid moves through our region killing hemlocks, Harvard Forest researchers are studying the tree's changing interactions with the atmosphere, water, and other species.
|1 Hemlock Tree|
Walk on the boardwalk and learn about this mixed swamp forest. Black gum trees, red spruce, hemlock, red maple, and white pine grow overhead. Shrubs like winterberry and highbush blueberry reach your knees. Cinnamon fern, goldthread, and Sphagnum mosses cover the forest floor.
|1 Ferns and Mosses|
|2 Black Gum Swamp|