Cover

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Map Legend, Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Foreword

Laura Waterman

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pp. xi-xiv

This is, at heart, a book about wildness and the importance of preserving it.

Wildness can be found in the forests of the eastern mountains of North America, but, to my mind, it is most readily tracked in the alpine tundra, perhaps because tundra is old. Tundra plants date back to the ice age. The tundra is a landscape that has survived, possibly because much of it is relatively inaccessible, with little human impact. Looked at this way, tundra connects us to land that is wild. But as wildness is intangible—more a perception...

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Preface (Editors’ Note)

Mike Jones and Liz Willey

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pp. xv-xvi

The Eastern Alpine Guide has been many years in the making. On one hand, this book is simply the most recent in a long tradition of celebrating the striking significance of eastern alpine tundra. On the other hand, it may be the first to describe this particular ecosystem holistically, setting aside the major geopolitical boundaries that divide our region, including state and provincial boundaries, the U.S.–Canada border, and the border between Québec and the Atlantic provinces. This is not a technical account, nor is it a trail guide; it is a...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xvii-xx

We first seriously imagined this book on a crisp night in the winter of 2008 when we were gathered in one of the hand-hewn, pre-Revolution barrooms in the Colonial Inn in downtown Concord, Massachusetts. Heavy, cold air seeped off of Monument Square, but the old tavern was full of warm light. The prospect of writing a book that unified what was known about the eastern alpine mountains was an exciting and intuitive notion. Whether or not we were on to a good idea, it seemed so at the time. We had not written a book before....

Part I | Introduction to the Eastern Alpine Zone

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1 | Introduction

Mike Jones & Liz Willey

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pp. 1-14

This book focuses on the mountains of northeastern North America, encompassing the ancient and weatherworn summits and plateaus of the Canadian Shield and the Northern Appalachian Mountains (see Ch. 2). We’ve further narrowed our focus to those peaks, plateaus, ranges, and ridges that for various reasons break through the natural treeline to rise above the surrounding boreal or temperate forest, providing southern refugia for rare, relictual, isolated populations of subarctic and arctic plants and animals...

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2 | Mountain Building

Jean-Philippe Martin & Daniel Germain

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pp. 15-26

Eastern mountains can be relatively neatly divided into two major groups: those that make up the Appalachian Mountains in New England, the Gaspé Peninsula, and Newfoundland, and those in New York, central Québec, and Labrador, which were formed from ancient Canadian Shield rock more than 1 billion years ago (Map 2-1). Of course, the story is not really that simple....

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3 | Ice Age and After

Jean-Philippe Martin & Daniel Germain

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pp. 27-36

The past 2.6 million years have witnessed significant cooling of the Earth and a series of glacial cycles, in which continental ice sheets have covered as much as 30% of the Earth’s surface. At the height of the last glacial event, the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered almost all of northeastern North America. Most of the glacial advances occurred within the Pleistocene epoch, informally known as the “ice age,” which technically ended 12,000 years ago with the ...

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4 | Climate and Weather

Ken Kimball, Neil Lareau, & Liz Willey

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pp. 37-48

A region’s climate is defined by long-term weather, not any particular weather event itself. Climate is determined by four major factors: latitude, altitude, proximity to large bodies of water, and exposure to regional air mass circulation patterns. In this chapter, we’ll examine how weather and climate influence eastern mountains....

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5 | Vegetation

Mike Jones, Liz Willey, & Marilyn Anions

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pp. 49-78

The isolated subarctic vegetation atop the higher summits is perhaps the most visible and unifying characteristic of the eastern North American alpine region. For many plant species, the eastern alpine areas profiled in this book represent disjunct and fragile outliers at the southern periphery of an enormous range. Often, their main territory extends across expansive treeless areas of subarctic Canada (and in many prominent cases, such as moss campion...

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6 | Fauna

Noah Charney & Mike Jones

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pp. 79-98

Northern animal assemblages provide one of the most exhilarating aspects of a visit to eastern alpine areas. A journey to the mountains may be fueled by the thrill of encountering woodland caribou, arctic hares, rock ptarmigans, American pipits, or subarctic butterflies (6-1)....

Part II | South of the St. Lawrence - New England and the Gaspé Peninsula

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7 | Mount Washington and the Presidential Range |

Mike Jones & Liz Willey

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pp. 99-118

It wasn’t by chance that we chose to begin this long section of the Eastern Alpine Guide, a series of range profiles, in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Mount Washington and the Presidential Range have achieved iconic status among eastern hills.1 The Presidential Range is likely familiar to literally millions of people, including many who seldom climb mountains. Some of this familiarity probably originates in part from the marketing strategies of the railway, auto road, and weather observatory that laid claim to the mountain between...

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8 | Katahdin

Mike Jones & Liz Willey

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pp. 119-130

Maine has many mountains, but none compares with Katahdin.1 Looking back on almost two centuries of devoted reverence for this mountain, it might be easy for the uninitiated to guess that this mountain is overrated. The opposite is true. Great and wild Katahdin awaits rediscovery, celebration, and redefinition by coming generations as long as civilization persists. There are few valid excuses not to see, or explore, this mountain in your lifetime....

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9 | Mont Albert and the Monts Chic-Chocs

Mike Jones & Liz Willey

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pp. 131-146

Mont Albert is among the more famous eastern mountains, and is probably the most famous in Gaspésie, the wide peninsula in southern Québec that encloses the southern edge of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The great, red, serpentine massif rises above the Rivière Sainte-Anne immediately west of the granitic summits of Mont Jacques-Cartier and the Monts McGerrigle (Ch. 10) (9-1). The highest reaches of its umber plateau do not quite reach 4000’, but Mont Albert is one of the most visually striking and ecologically unique mountains in the...

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10 | Mont Jacques-Cartier and the Monts McGerrigle

Mike Jones & Liz Willey

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pp. 147-156

Gaspésie’s largest alpine ecosystem occurs upon the granitic, enormous tableland surrounding Mont Jacques-Cartier1 and its secondary summits, known collectively as the Monts McGerrigle (10-1) or McGerrigle Mountains. The Monts McGerrigle, Québec’s second-highest mountain range after the towering Torngat Mountains of the Québec–Labrador borderlands, encompass the eastern third of the Gaspésie high peaks region. Mont Jacques-Cartier is altogether unlike Mont Albert and Mont Logan or the other peaks in the Monts Chic-Chocs to the west (Ch. 9). The western Monts Chic-Chocs are essentially a comet-shaped, east-west...

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11 | Other Alpine Sites South of the St. Lawrence

Mike Jones & Liz Willey

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pp. 157-168

The sublime Green Mountains rise from the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, within clear sight of the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, with which they share almost no geologic connection. Although they are generally lower than the High Peaks, the Green Mountains of Vermont and Québec support a larger combined alpine...

Part III | Newfoundland

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12 | Southern Long Range Mountains

Paul Wylezol, Claudia Hanel, & Marilyn Anions

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pp. 169-180

It’s probably not possible to explore all of alpine Newfoundland in one life, and if afforded only one trip there, proceed directly to the Bay of Islands (Ch. 13) or the Gros Morne/ Northern Long Range region (Ch. 14 and 15) (arguably Newfoundland’s most spectacular mountains). But if you do choose to speed north to those higher mountains, hope for thick fog as you pass through the Wreckhouse region. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to explore towering Table Mountain, the dramatic gateway to the Southern Long Range (12-1). The diverse mountains of the Southern Long Range, and adjacent Buchans Plateau, are distinctly...

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13 | Bay of Islands

Paul Wylezol, Claudia Hanel, & Marilyn Anions

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pp. 181-198

It’s only about two hours from the fogbound ferry terminal at Port aux Basques up the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast, to the logging roads that lead into the mountains surrounding the Bay of Islands (13-1). There are four mountain ranges in all: broad, ocean-front mesas with enormous alpine tablelands, encompassing little-known but spectacular ranges known as the Lewis Hills, Blow Me Down Mountain, North Arm Hills, and Tablelands....

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14 | Gros Morne

Claudia Hanel & Marilyn Anions

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pp. 199-208

Gros Morne is the mountain of Newfoundland, as Katahdin is to Maine. Gros Morne may refer either to this dome-shaped, quartzite-capped mountain on Newfoundland’s west coast, or to the surrounding Canadian National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site that bears its name (in this chapter, we refer specifically to the mountain). Gros Morne, the mountain, is uniquely shaped and prominently displayed against the backdrop of the Long Range Mountains, and it stands apart from the surrounding sea of mountains (14-1). In this...

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15 | Northern Long Range Mountainsye

Paul Wylezol & Marilyn Anions

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pp. 209-218

The Long Range Mountains of Newfoundland are an extension of the mainland Appalachians, which run continuously from Alabama and Georgia before plunging dramatically into the sea at the Cape Breton Highlands in Nova Scotia (Ch. 11). The entire chain of mountains running down the western spine of Newfoundland, from the northern capes of Norse legend to Port aux Basques in the south, are often collectively referred to as the “Long Range Mountains.” This broad and expansive definition does little to capture the diversity of the mountains of western Newfoundland, which vary in composition, structure, origin, and...

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16 | Highlands of St. John

Claudia Hanel

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pp. 219-230

On the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, life is stripped down to its basic boreal elements. The rolling coastal forests are finely dissected by sheltered ports and harbors, and punctuated by high and stony alpine tundra and coastal limestone barrens. The peninsula terminates in a series of rounded bluffs, capes, and peninsulas facing Labrador’s Forteau Tablelands and the old gneiss of the Canadian Shield. There, the remains of North America’s only confirmed Norse settlement were scoured by the wintry Labrador Current for 960 years before its remains were discovered in 1960 by Drs. Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad....

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17 | Other Alpine Sites in Newfoundland

Claudia Hanel

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pp. 231-242

When traversing the center of the Avalon Peninsula in southeastern Newfoundland along the Trans-Canada Highway (Route 1), travelers pass very close to the Hawke Hills, a rounded alpine ridge with an assortment of communications towers. A short ascent along a gravel access road provides access to the towers. Visitors will be greeted more often than not by fog or a stiff blast of wind, recalling some of the important reasons this area is alpine despite its low elevation of approximately 300 m (984') (see Ch. 4). The open hillcrest provides a good...

Part IV | The Canadian Shield

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18 | Monts Groulx (Uapishka)

Will Kemeza

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pp. 243-260

In the spruce-studded, gray-green heart of boreal Québec, 720 km (450 mi) north of Québec City, the Monts Groulx huddle above the spruce forest like some basking, brooding creature that just heaved itself up out of the adjacent Manicouagan meteor crater (18- 1). “Monts Groulx” is the formally recognized name for the massif, but the name may not persist much longer. The Monts Groulx were named in honor of Lionel-Adolphe Groulx (1878–1967), a Québecois priest and nationalist, in November 1967, commemorating...

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19 | Monts Otish

Guillaume de Lafontaine

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pp. 261-272

The remote knobs, peaks, and ridges of Québec’s Monts Otish lie 200 km (120 mi) westnorthwest of the Monts Groulx (Ch. 18) and about the same distance south of Hydro-Qué- bec’s Trans-Taiga Highway, which supports the hydroelectric installations of the James Bay watersheds. The alpine tundra of the Monts Otish is perhaps the least-known and most isolated of the alpine ecosystems profiled in this book, with the exception of some of the Labrador coast ranges discussed in Chapter 21. The Monts Otish complex comprises several dozen ...

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20 | Mealy Mountains

Luise Hermanutz, Michael Lederer, Marilyn Anions, Laura Siegwart Collier, & Andrew Trant

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pp. 273-284

A stark, glacier-scarred, mountain landscape dominates the southern shores of Lake Melville, the great marshy inlet of the Labrador Sea that divides the interior section of Labrador into distinctly northern and southern regions. The Mealy Mountains, referred to as “Akamiuapishku” by the Innu, rise above 1000 m (3280') from sea-level bogs and spruce forest to tundra-clad peaks (20-1).1 The alpine treeline in the Mealy Mountains occurs at about 600 m (1970'), about 200 m lower than the average treeline in the Monts Otish or the Monts...

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21 | Other Alpine Sites on the Canadian Shield

Guillaume de Lafontaine, Luise Hermanutz, Marilyn Anions, Laura Siegwart Collier, & Julia Goren

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pp. 285-302

The Adirondacks of northeastern New York are essentially a stranded anorthosite inlier of the Canadian Shield, more closely related geologically to the Mealy Mountains of Labrador (Ch. 20) than the neighboring Green Mountains (Ch. 11), although the latter lie within sight of the Adirondacks across Lake Champlain. Adirondack may be a corruption of the Mohawk word ratirontaks (“they eat trees”), by which the Mohawks themselves may have referred to neighboring tribes.1 The Adirondacks encompass some of the tallest mountains...

Part V | Conservation

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22 | A Conservation Vision

Will Kemeza

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pp. 303-308

Where from here? What path to the year 2100 will leave the eastern alpine ranges most intact?

The Northern Forest, and especially its few eastern alpine peaks, is threatened by myriad long-term and immediate changes. The negative effects of long-term trends, such as anthropogenic warming and volatile swings in precipitation, are extremely complex and potentially devastating, although the eventual results are largely unknown. Short-term or immediate threats, including wind farm development, mining, logging, heavy recreational use, invasive...

Literature Consulted

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pp. 309-328

Index to Species Listed in the Text

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pp. 329-342

Photographer Credits

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pp. 343-344

About the Contributors

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pp. 345-348