The Great Mountain Forest (GMF) encompasses more than 6,000 acres of contiguous forestland in the towns of Norfolk and Canaan, Connecticut. GMF is owned and managed by The Great Mountain Forest Corporation, a not-for-profit 501 © 3 private operating foundation. They strive to promote the working forest as a renewable resource, a habitat for wildlife, and an outdoor classroom for education. They have a network of trails and roads open to the public, daily during daylight hours.
As a working forest, scientists carry out tomographic scans on trees, specifically the American beech, sugar maple, and yellow birch to measure the rate of decay. An Experiment Station has also been set up that surveys invasive insects and evaluates their impact. A Chestnut orchard has been established and has established a backcross breeding program in order to breed an American Chestnut that is highly resistant to the chestnut blight and is native to Connecticut. Being a unique old-growth coniferous forest, one of the few in the state, birds are also monitored for productivity and survivorship. The University of Connecticut has also set up a program to monitor bears and moose.
The forest trails at Great Mountain Forest are currently open to the public during daylight hours. They ask that hikers follow the CDC guidelines by keeping at least six feet of distance between people on the trails. For a map of the trails and roads, please click here. The forest supports an abundance of diverse wildlife from resident whitetail deer to moose, black bears, and turkeys, waterfowl, and many birds. All visitors must sign in and out at one of the visitor registers by the gated trails located on Windrow Road in Norfolk and on Canaan Mountain Road in Cannan. Pedestrian use is limited to main woods roads and designated trails. Bicycle use is limited specially designated bicycle trails. Leashed dogs are permitted on trails but horses are strictly prohibited.