An ideal Vermont woodlot investment opportunity supported by well stocked stands of maple and ash, established access, surveyed land, and level terrain easily developed for camp construction.
Shepard Hill Forest is located in the rural town of Worcester, just a short drive north of the capital city of Montpelier. Lying in the eastern foothills of the Worcester Mountain Range, the town is tucked in the valley of the North Branch of the Winooski River, where a few farms are located, and rises into the rugged hills on either side. The area is relatively high in elevation and the landscape is largely forested and hilly.
The center of Worcester includes a school, post office, café and general store. Many of the residents work their land and/or commute to Montpelier, Morrisville and beyond for employment. The nearby cities of Montpelier (9 miles south) and Morrisville (17 miles north) are an easy drive on Route 12 and offer restaurants, shopping, entertainment, hospitals and other services. Interstate 89 can be accessed in Montpelier, from where Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, is a 35-minute drive. From the property, Boston is a 3.5-hour drive southeast, while Montreal, Canada is 3 hours northwest.
The property contains 400’ of road frontage along Shepard Hill Road, an unmaintained Class IV town road. The frontage along this area is level and offers an existing driveway leading into the forest. Additionally, there exist two 30’ sections of frontage further north along the road which provides additional forms of potential access.
Once on the property an internal access road leads into the center of the land, east of Worcester Brook. From the terminus of this road, an excellent network of old forestry trails covers the entire property.
The forest offers many of the favorable landscape attributes one would expect from a choice Vermont woodlot. The highlights include primarily well-drained soils on upland terrain with elevation ranging from 1,220’ along the road frontage to 1,500’ along the eastern boundary. This relatively high elevation provides potential sweeping views of the Worcester Range, situated to the west. Terrain is variable with many gently-sloping areas interspersed with various short, steep areas. Aspect is primarily to the west.
Worcester Brook runs through the land and offers a nice falls and small gorge area as it leaves the forest’s western boundary (near the internal access road).
The property’s access and terrain offers an excellent opportunity to develop a camp on the property.
Aside from the recreational amenity offered by the property, the timber resource provides a compelling case for current and future value appreciation.
The ownership’s staff foresters conducted a timber inventory in 2001 as part of their acquisition due diligence at the time. These data were grown forward by Fountains with current stumpage prices assigned, producing an estimated standing Capital Timber Value (CTV) of $103,800 ($979/acre), representing 74% of the asking price. While only a portion of this value is liquid over any given 15-year management cycle, this CTV is well-positioned to appreciate over time as the forest is managed under an asset appreciation regime.
Typical of well-drained upland sites in Vermont, species composition is dominated by the hardwoods (91% of total volume). Sugar maple is the primary species with common associates of ash, red maple and yellow birch. Minor components of softwoods exist (mostly hemlock and red spruce) where soil drainage is poor and/or shallow to bedrock.
Generally, the timber resource consist of three ages, with the majority of volume present in the 10-18” size class. An advanced sapling age class with diameters of 4”-7” has become established after a harvest conducted some 20 years ago.
Thinning last occurred in 1997 with all stands now fully stocked. The full stocking, diverse diameter distribution, and appropriately spaced stems positions the forest well for exceptional asset appreciation over the coming decade. Thinning is possible at any time, providing near term income opportunity.