The landscape at Saint-Gaudens NHS exhibits a refreshing mixture of vegetation contrasts and diverse topographic features. While the core of the park contains a variety of managed and planted lawns and gardens, the natural area is characterized by a diverse pattern of forest and wetland vegetation that is distributed like a mosaic over the terraces, ravines, floodplains, and hillslopes of the site. Like much of New Hampshire, the natural vegetation is in a dynamic state of gradual successional change. Areas that were mown lawn or pastures during the period of Saint-Gaudens’ life are now young successional forests. In other sections, vigorous wetland communities have encroached upon former areas of open water in Blow-Me-Down Pond. Elsewhere, former pine and hemlock mature forests have been transformed by logging activities to uneven-aged mixed successional forests. These areas form ten natural (minimal human influence) and semi-natural (actively managed or recovering from recent human disturbance) communities containing over four hundred vascular plant species. Five of these species are tracked by the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Program (NHNHP) as threatened or endangered in the state.
Last updated: February 26, 2015