Before arriving in the Great North Woods, I researched the town of Pittsburg, home to Lake Francis State Park, and they exclaimed that there are more moose than people! Many visitors who travel to the northern land of New Hampshire are hoping to see a moose. Driving along Route 3 North, every so often there will be a sign warning of moose crossing for the next 11 miles.
People travel from miles away whether it is from southern NH, or crossing the border from Quebec, they visit the Great North Woods for the pristine and tranquil wilderness. Many of whom have been visiting the area for 10 years, some even 30 years and they keep coming back for that vibe of remoteness. The area surrounding Lake Francis State Park is home to some of the best fishing, ATV trails, and a vast diversity of wildlife. Some of that wildlife includes white-tailed deer, black bears, red-foxes, loons, and the most sought after creature the moose.
During the 1800s due to heavy farming in the area, the moose population in the state of NH was hovering around a total of 15! Their population didn’t rebound noticeably until the 1970s since those farms were being abandoned which created a mosaic of nature consisting of young re-growing forests providing excellent moose habitat throughout the state. Now New Hampshire is able to boast that it is the most forested state in the nation, having 87% of forested land. A large portion of that is the area surrounding Lake Francis State Park.
Where can I go see a moose? This is one of the most commonly asked questions that I get asked when I’m roving throughout the campground and the day-use area. At times it doesn’t necessarily depend on the location, however but the time of day. The optimum times to view a moose are early in the morning, late afternoon, and also at dusk. During the summer time the best areas to view a moose are in a marsh/bog, because they love feeding of the aquatic plants. Between the 2nd and 3rd Connecticut Lake there is a stretch of Route 3 that is known as Moose Alley. When traveling around dusk, there is usually a line of cars driving quite slow hoping to see a moose. I always emphasize to visitors to drive very careful when they are out “Moosin,” especially around dusk since they sometimes could blend in with the darkness.
For the month of August from 7-8:30 pm on both Thursday and Saturday I will venture out on the Moose Alley Trail for a “Moose Safari.” This program will consist of exploring the trail, observing for any moose scat, tracks, and hopefully a moose! Anyone is invited to join, and I will be meeting folks at the Campground Store then driving a short 6 miles to the trailhead which is right off Magalloway Road.