Barnard Ridge Woodland represents a recreational property with an attractive site on which to build a camp for weekend stays and a base to explore the land and nearby hiking destinations, including The Lookout Trailhead along the Appalachian Trail.
The ownership, The Conservation Fund (TCF), is a non-profit conservation organization whose mission statement is “TCF, working with public, private and nonprofit partners, protects America’s legacy of land and water resources through land acquisition, sustainable community and economic development, and leadership training, emphasizing the integration of economic and environmental goals”. Their goal in divesting is to raise funds to further their forestland conservation work on new projects.
Property highlights include:
Barnard Ridge Woodland is located in a mountainous region of central Vermont, which is, surprisingly, sparsely developed, given its close proximity to some of the state’s most popular destinations. Known as the Chateauguay-Notown Region, this scenic area has a rich working landscape heritage, as evidenced by the numerous stone walls and cellar holes that cover the hillsides. In the late 19th century, there was even a brief gold rush episode. Now the area is largely forested and hosts the Appalachian Trial (1.5 miles south of the property) and many large, protected properties.
The Chateauguay-Notown Region covers nearly 60,000 acres and is bounded by Routes 12 to the east, 4 to the south, 100 to the west and 107 to the north. The property is located in the area’s northeastern section. Because of its undeveloped nature, the region has been the focus of many conservation groups and individuals who have worked to protect its unique landscape. To date, over 30% of the area has been protected from development by various means (see location map for designation of protected lands in the region). The region’s scenic and natural significance has also made it a coveted place for investment.
The property is located ±4 miles from the center of Barnard Village, a tiny but culturally diverse community located in central Vermont. At its heart is 84-acre Silver Lake which hosts seasonal and year-round shoreline homes, a town beach and a state park at its northern end. Across from the lake is the Barnard General Store, a popular stop featuring locally-prepared foods. The village is a popular destination in all four seasons, by both locals and tourists, with lodging available in the form of several bed and breakfast establishments. In particular, just at the junction of Morgan Road and Route 12 (2 miles from the land) is the Barnard Inn & Restaurant, a well-known eating establishment.
Woodstock Village is ±13 miles to the south, with the junction of I-89 and I-91 35 miles to the southeast. Boston is about a 2.5-hour drive further to the southeast.
Access is provided by a gravel, Class 4 town road off Morgan Road which is maintained by the landowners along the road. Chateauguay Road (which is town maintained) provides the best route to Morgan Road. Once on Morgan Road, it is possible to drive with a high clearance vehicle for ±1,850’, at which point it is then another ±1,750’ to the property boundary on a road that requires some improvement before it can be used for vehicles.
Once on the property, a legal town trail runs ±1,300’ along the land’s northwestern corner. From the road, various woods trails extend uphill to the land’s mountain peak and south to a drainage with a small stream at its center.
Note that access to the land from Bennett Road to Morgan Road via the northeast approach is not passible with cars or high-clearance vehicles.
The property sits on the western slopes and at the center of a mountain range that extends north to Barnard Village and south to Lakota Lake. This range parallels Route 12 to the east, which connects Barnard Village to Woodstock Village to the south. The land’s eastern boundary line crosses a 2,200’ ASL (above sea level) peak along the range, one of its highest points. From this peak, the land slopes west to the access road, where the lowest elevation is 1,720’ ASL. The property has variable terrain, characterized by mostly moderate slopes, but with some steep spots. The entire property has a western aspect.
The land supported an old farm in the late 1700s and early 1800s, as evidenced by an old foundation located in the south-central section of the property (see location on property maps). Further, several old stone walls and rock piles indicate an historical agricultural use.
The property offers various sites to develop a camp near the access road. Given the land’s high elevation, long views to the west are possible with tree clearing.
Two main woods trails lead to the land’s mountain peak, allowing for great hiking to the high ground.
The timber data reveal a total sawlog volume of 145 MBF International ¼” scale (1.4 MBF/acre) with 814 pulpwood cords (8 cords/acre). Stumpage values were assigned to the volumes, establishing an estimate of Capital Timber Value (CTV) of $53,000 ($446/acre).
A species composition dominated by hardwoods prevails, with hardwoods at 97% and softwoods at 3% of total volume. Species composition for all products combined offers a favorable mix and is led by the sugar maple at 45% of total volume. Common miscellaneous species make up the balance.
Overall, the forest is fully stocked, meaning all of the growing space is being utilized. For this property, some of that stocking is composed of 12-year-old stems that have become established after the most recent harvest in 2007/08. Thus, there is an abundance of younger stems intermingled with a larger-stemmed overstory. Technically, the average Basal Area (BA) is 70 sq ft on 164 stems/acre, data supporting fully-stocked conditions.
The property last saw forest management activity in 2007/08.
The forest management plan identifies one main forest stand and another, smaller stand of less then 1 acre (a tiny wetland). The main stand covers nearly the entire property and includes the areas of red spruce. The seller manages this and all of their land under Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) guidelines. A copy of the management plan is available upon request.
The seller is retaining an option over the next 10 years to acquire a conservation easement covering the property from the new owner. This option will allow the seller to purchase a conservation easement based on the fair market value of an easement sale at the time the option is initiated. The new owner may reject the easement sale if the option price does not meet the minimum strike price as set in the Option Agreement. This option offers the new owner an active partner who will work to secure the necessary funding to purchase the easement, providing an alternative revenue source during their ownership tenure. During the 10-year option term, the owner shall maintain the land’s enrollment in the Use Value Appraisal program in good standing and not develop or subdivide the land unless mutually agreed upon with the option holder. With permission from the option holder, the new owner can construct a camp on the land. A copy of the Option Agreement is available upon request.