Protected by a conservation easement, this maple forest offers an exceptional sugarbush opportunity with over 25,000 potential taps covering a westerly aspect with desirable downhill sap-flow.
The conservation easement on the property will be held by the Vermont Land Trust (VLT), a Vermont-based organization and one of the most respected conservation organizations in the nation.
Easement highlights include:
The forest lies in the northern Vermont town of Lowell, between the Green Mountains to the west and the Lowell Mountain Range just to the east (the property sits along the western slopes of the Lowell Range). This region’s main transportation corridor is Route 100, running north-south just east of the land, providing exceptional access to forest product markets north of the border in Quebec, Canada, as well as regional US markets to the south and east. Vermont’s largest city, Burlington, is 1¼ hours to the southwest. Montreal is 2 hours northwest and Boston is 3.5 hours southeast
The property’s boundary is situated roughly 1,000’ from Route 100 and is accessed by a deeded, 50’-wide right-of-way (RoW), which commences from Route 100. The RoW runs along an existing dirt road through various ownerships for roughly 1,150’ to the property’s western boundary. Along this section of the RoW, landing rights have been reserved in two locations benefiting the ownership. The RoW provides good, functional access to the majority of the land. Internal skid trails are old but well established throughout much of the property.
The entire property has a western aspect, with all terrain sloping westerly towards Route 100. Terrain can be considered average for most Vermont woodland tracts, with some areas of steep slopes along the land’s western end and the brooks. Elevation ranges from 1,240’ where the RoW enters the property to 2,520’ at the ridgeline along the eastern boundary (note only a few acres reach above the 2,500’ elevation mark). Generally, soil quality can be considered above average (dominant soil type is Tunbridge - Lyman fine sandy loam), with exceptions on sites where soils are shallow to bedrock. Species composition in a few stands is nearly pure sugar maple, a virtual monoculture of this species.
The land includes the headwaters of the East Branch of the Missisquoi River which bisects the forest. Another branch of this river’s headwaters runs along the northern boundary. Slopes along these brooks can be steep, creating cascading falls in some locations.
The majority of the terrain slopes east to west and downhill towards the access road, facilitating both potential sugarbush establishment and forest management operations. Electric power is roughly 1,100’ from the property’s western boundary along Route 100. The majority of the terrain lends itself well to a natural downhill flow.
Timber data is based on a monumented and comprehensive timber inventory, conducted in November 2015 by the ownership’s forest consultant. A species composition dominated by hardwoods prevails, with hardwoods at 95% and softwoods at 5% of total volume. Species composition for all products combined offers a favorable mix and is led by sugar maple (54%), followed by yellow birch (15%), with other common hardwoods and red spruce comprising the balance. Stem quality can be considered well above average across the diameter distribution spectrum (including the larger-diameter stems).
A Capital Timber Value (CTV) of $536,300 ($1,116/total acre) has been set by Fountains in September of 2016.
The property offers an outstanding potential sugarbush opportunity, given the high level of maple stocking, slope factor, access and proximity to electric power. A potential sugarbush analysis indicates a total maple potential tap count of 25,163 taps with roughly 89% of the taps from sugar maple with the balance from red maple. Trees 10” and greater were considered, providing an average of 52 taps/acre covering 480.7 acres. In many areas the average taps/acre is likely close to 75/acre. Also, the timber data indicates that an additional 16,536 taps will become available in the coming years from the maple resource within the 5-9” diameter class.