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White Mountain Foothills

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About the White Mountain Foothills

The White Mountain Foothills are a region located entirely within New Hampshire, representing a transition between the White Mountains to the east and other, slightly less mountainous regions to the north, west, and south.

This region is a rugged plateau consisting of rolling hills, open, low mountains, and monadnocks. The bedrock is mostly granite, granodiorite (another granite-like rock), and metavolcanic rocks, and there is sandy and sandy-loamy glacial till, becoming discontinuous at higher elevations. Soils are shallow and rocky throughout. There are some small ponds and lakes, but fewer than in the flatter region to the south.

Original forest cover was mostly northern hardwood forest with American beech, sugar maple, and yellow birch. There was some lowland spruce-fir forest, with red spruce, balsam fir, paper birch, and yellow birch, and some hemlock and hemlock-northern hardwood forests. Higher elevations had small areas of montane spruce-fir forest. Wetlands supported black spruce, red maple, and northern hardwood-black ash-conifer swamps.

Like much of New England, this area has seen an increase of forest cover following abandonment of agriculture. There is still some pastureland and hay production, but the area is mostly forested nowadays and agricultural lands are mostly separated by larger tracts of intact forest. There is some forestry, rural residential development, maple syrup production, and tourism and recreation. There are some protected public lands here, mostly in the east where the White Mountain National Forest includes a small portion of this region, but also in the smaller Cardigan Mountain State Forest, Province Rd State Forest, Cockermouth Forest, The Rocks Estate, and several smaller state and local parks.

To the east, this region partly surrounds the White Mountains/Blue Mountains. To the west, this region directly borders the Northern Connecticut Valley in the north, and the Vermont Piedmont in the south. There is a large border to the south with the Sunapee Uplands, and the southernmost part of this region also has a small border with the Sebago-Ossipee Hills and Plains to the east. At the very north end there is a very short border with the Quebec/New England Boundary Mountains.

References

1. Griffith, G.E., Omernik, J.M., Bryce, S.A., Royte, J., Hoar, W.D., Homer, J.W., Keirstead, D., Metzler, K.J., and Hellyer, G. "Ecoregions of New England (Poster)", U.S. Geological Survey (2009) Web.