This wetland complex is credited by the State of Maine as one of the best patterned fens in the region and is listed as a “Focus Area of Statewide Ecological Significance”. According to the State, the area supports “a large number and variety of wetlands on undeveloped forested landscape that provides significant amount of high value wildlife habitat.”  High praise indeed! We knew it was a special spot back in 1997 when one of our biology field staff visited the area, recorded its features, and nominated it for our Conservation Program.  Although no rare plants have been found on site, the patterned fen wetland is itself a rare feature in the “lower 48”, with the Maine site being one of the most southerly examples. 

As the name suggests, a patterned wetland is that which has vegetation and open water areas developed in certain shapes based on water flow through the fen.  Ridges of peat, shrubs and even stunted spruces are interspersed with open areas of water and grasses in a wave like pattern that is perpendicular to the water flow in the area.  The Orchard Bog drains into two distinct watersheds – one being the St. John River and the other being the Aroostook and then Madawaska River.

Learn more about other unique high conservation sites below!