Forest Management


Welcome to the Scientific Forest Management Area Page

"It has long been my purpose to create in our forests a large area wherein the State may practice the most modern methods of forest control reforestation and production…. I want this township to become a showplace for those interested in forestry, a place where a continuing timber crop can be cultivated, harvested, and sold, where reforestation and scientific cutting will be employed, an example and an inspiration to others. What is done in our forests today will help or harm the generations who follow us."
Percival P. Baxter, 1955

Percival P.Baxter
Percival P.Baxter

Many visitors to Baxter State Park might be surprised to learn that forest products are harvested in a portion of the 209,000+ acre Park, in accordance with directives of Park Donor Percival Baxter. The area, named the Scientific Forest Management Area (SFMA), is located in the Northwest Corner of the Park encompassing nearly 30,000 acres, including portions of Webster Lake, Webster Stream, and recreational features like the Freezeout Trail. Percival Baxter established the SFMA in 1955 to in his words, “…Become a showplace for those interested in forestry, a place where a continuing timber crop can be cultivated, harvested, and sold, where reforestation and scientific cutting will be employed, an example and an inspiration to others…” Baxter took the long view with respect to land conservation, purchasing forest land degraded by exploitative harvesting and subsequent wildfire, knowing that one day it would again become forest.

Percival P.Baxter
You are entering the SFMA

Forestry requires a similar long term perspective, owing to the patient nature by which forests develop from young to mature conditions, a process that can span the careers of multiple foresters. Forest managers use harvesting, just one of many tools, to influence the development of individual parts of a forest. Viewed together, these parts are managed as a forest landscape with the goal of orchestrating forest conditions over long time periods, to achieve management objectives such as: protecting water quality, protecting biodiversity, providing wildlife habitat, and enabling a sustained harvest of forest products.

The SFMA has been recognized for practicing exemplary forest management, receiving Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification in 2001. A SFMA advisory committee, comprised of forestry professionals and interested members of the public, help Park staff determine management directions and policy directives. See for yourself what forest management looks like by visiting one of the many forest management roads, hiking trails, or waterways in the SFMA. Tours for forestry groups and other interested parties can be arranged by contacting the Park Resource Manager (207-723-9616). Learn more about the SFMA at the Virtual Tour