A Harsh Cold Land

15,000 years ago the Laurentide Glacier likely covered the very place where you are now standing. Imagine hundreds of feet of grinding ice moving slowly along - scouring into the very bedrock.

From the Arctic to the Carolinas, there was no life as we know it today!

As it retreated north, the glacier ground through the area leaving its marks everywhere. Like this bedrock scarred by the passing ice...

or this glacial erratic that has been sitting on three tiny rocks for centuries and centuries.

Ground down by the passing glacier huge deposits of sands and gravels can be found almost everywhere ...

and local river basins, coastal estuaries and bays still bear the marks of the powerful glacier that passed this way.

Tundra to Taiga

As the Laurentide Glacier retreated, the hardy plants of the tundra established themselves and grew in abundance during the short summer periods.

Plant and Animal Refuge

Plants and animals that had been restricted to tiny refuge areas below the ice front moved slowly northward behind the retreating glacier and continue to do so today.

Woodland Caribou were the common “deer” until the late 1800’s, occurring south to Portland. Today the remnants are restricted to the Gaspé.

Wolf packs followed the caribou herds as they wandered the area. Hunted and harrassed, their food supply diminishing, they disappeared with the caribou.

Like other typical marine Arctic animals, walrus occurred along the ocean’s ice face and on offshore islands and ledges.

Polar bears, Muskoxen, Arctic foxes, Arctic birds of all kinds, and their prey thrived in the tundra that followed the glacier north.

Arctic fish, like this male char, entered the cold glacial rivers to spawn. Remnants are still found in a few lakes.

Led by migrations of Arctic birds, like this snowy owl, southern species moved north behind them.

This is the “Great Migration” 15,000 years in the making and still proceeding.

Supported by the abundance of life that preceeded him, man also moved forward to occupy the land.

This presentation is number one of a series. Next follow the 10,000 years of colonization by man.

Credits Author - Art MacKay Drawings and photos - Art MacKay and Wikipedia.com