Explore Nature

Highlands is Home to Rare and Endemic Plants and Animals

Some say ours are the oldest mountains in the world. Their geology tells us that they were formed a billion years ago and over time changes in the landscape have created ideal habitat for a plethora of plants and animals like no other place in North America. They are home to 400 rare and more than 250 endemic plants, meaning they occur nowhere else on the planet.

Our streams and rivers contain the largest variety of fish, fresh-water mussels and crayfish in the temperate world and new species continue to be discovered. Indeed, our forests are the most ecologically rich in the world but it's not just the plants and wildlife who thrive here.

While not endemic, a stroll through the Plateau’s woods and meadows will reward the alert guest with glimpses of racoons, otters, snakes and terrapins, bears, and occasional bobcats. Foxes still abound, although the arrival of coyotes over the last few years may have diminished their range. Armadillos are rumored to have recently arrived on the Plateau, and you’ll still hear of occasional sightings of mountain lions, although they are supposed to have vanished from the forests around here nearly 100 years ago.

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