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Standard #7, Protect Special Sites

Where present, and relevant to the property, your forest management plan must address a number of resource elements, including special sites. Special sites are defined as “those areas offering unique historical, archeological, cultural, geological, biological, or ecological value.” Special sites may be designated for purely sentimental reasons, or may be sites with greater cultural or archeological significance. Examples of special sites include Native American burial sites, historical building ruins, old cemeteries or headstones, cave entrances, spring heads, rare mineral outcroppings, a champion tree, a bear’s den, a pitcher plant bog, or a scenic outlook. Most often your “special site” will be some thing or place in your woods that is personally important to you.

Special sites are managed in ways that recognize their unique characteristics. Most will be a small portion of the property. Tree Farmers can identify special sites on management planning maps and, where appropriate, on the ground. However, Tree Farmers may choose not to identify some special sites on the ground in an effort to protect them from vandalism or overuse.

Special sites may not be found on every property. Tree Farmers must make a reasonable effort to locate and protect special sites appropriate for the size of the forest and the scale and intensity of forest management activities. Special sites can be identified as part of preparing your management plan, from old property maps, from family history or local lore. One way to address this standard is to contact the Maine Historic Preservation Commission at (207) 287-2132 or visit

Any special site identified in the management plan must include provisions for its protection, especially during forest management activities. Most properly conducted management activities will not harm these resources. Construction of roads, trails or landings, however, could potentially disturb significant sites. If a reasonable attempt to identify special sites on your Tree Farm turns up nothing, a short statement about that in your management plan will meet the standard.

For more about special sites, check out the ATFS website for tips on preserving special sites.