n the shadows of a February dawn, not far from the town of
Greenville, Maine, wildlife biologist Henning Stabins of Plum
Creek Timber Company and his colleagues were in search of
Lynx canadensis, North America’s only lynx species.
Stabins stepped out of a company truck on a back road
at the south end of Moosehead Lake into snow so deep it
stopped him cold. Instantly, he was enveloped in the silence of the
northwoods, a soundlessness so complete he might have been
an astronaut walking in the blue emptiness of space.
In near darkness and below zero temperatures, Stabins
met Plum Creek biologist Ray Ary and assistants Wayne and
Barbara Plummer of the Northern Pride Lodge in Kokadjo. The
Plummers own and run the lodge, where they offer wildlife and
hunting guide services and work with Plum Creek to perform
lynx surveys during winter months.
The surveys, part of a project to better understand lynx
movements and their habitat use in managed forests in the
The Plummers seem to be lucky charms for lynx sightings;
they’ve spotted lynx many times since they moved to northern
Maine 15 years ago. One morning, Wayne crossed paths with
a mother lynx and two kittens. “The mom passed by me first,
Left: Serious snowshoes: huge feet help lynx maneuver in deep snow. Inset: Plum Creek
Timber Company’s lynx surveys record data on the size, depth, stride, and location of
any lynx tracks that are found.