The property represents an exceptional timber investment opportunity with attractive species composition, a maturing yellow birch age class, and high volumes, providing the next ownership a clean canvas to develop a personal stewardship plan. The ownership, Atlas Timberlands Partnership, is a collaboration between two conservation groups: The Nature Conservancy and the Vermont Land Trust. Together, they have held the property as a model for managing a diverse array of stewardship goals, including the practice of sustainable silvicultural operations. Their goal in divesting is to raise funds to further their forestland conservation work on new projects.
Investment highlights include:
· Pure timber investment, where existing conservation easement sets asking price at 73% of capital timber value;
· Present ownership history of conducting careful silvicultural operations with focus on improving overall forest conditions;
· High stocking with an average of 30.7 cords per acre, offering immediate cash flow from silvicultural operations;
· Good internal access off state paved road;
· Possible sugarbush opportunity;
· Scenic property with 24-acre pond.
Elmore Pond Forest is located along Route 12 between Montpelier and Morrisville in Elmore, Vermont. Route 12 runs north-south through the town, providing access to the state capital of Montpelier and Interstate 89, 17 miles to the south. Nine miles to the north of the property’s frontage on Route 12 is the town of Morrisville and Routes 15 and 100. These major roads provide transportation corridors to regional and Canadian forest product mills from the property.
The property has roughly 2,000’ of frontage along Route 12 with an existing access point suitable for crossing the North Branch of the Winooski River. An internal log road (constructed 22 years ago) extends nearly 2.3 miles along the eastern end of the property to Little Elmore Pond.
An eastern aspect predominates, with the highest elevations (2,520’) in the western section of the forest. From there, nearly all of the terrain falls easterly to the access road and the headwaters of the North Branch of the Winooski River, where elevation is 1,220’. The terrain can be characterized as moderate to steeply sloping with ledge-runs between benches of moderate to gently-sloping areas. The entire western shoreline of the scenic and tranquil Little Elmore Pond comprises the property boundary. Its 24 acres of open water, with maximum depth of 15’ and a fisheries population that includes brook trout, provide an appealing recreational amenity. The pond is easily accessible from the main truck road.
A species composition dominated by hardwoods prevails, with hardwoods at 90% and softwoods at 10% of total volume. Species composition for all products combined offers a favorable mix and is led by the maples (47%), followed by yellow birch (23%), beech, softwood and other hardwood (each 10%). After growth for 2016 and 2017, the 2015 inventory data reveals a sawlog volume of 10,301 MBF (6.2 MBF/commercial acre) with 30,864 pulpwood cords (18.4 cords/ acre). Combined total commercial per acre volume is 30.7 cords. Overall, forest stocking is high with overstocked conditions prevailing, where the average Basal Area (BA) is 106 square feet on 192 stems/acre. Average diameters for the three major species are sugar maple 15”, yellow birch 16” and red maple 14.5”. As of March 2018, Capital Timber Value (CTV) has been set at $2,181,700 ($1,123/total acre).
A maple tap analysis indicates a total maple potential tap count of 60,991 taps, with roughly 64% of the taps from sugar maple and the balance from red maple. Trees 10” and greater were considered, providing an average of 36 taps/acre property-wide.
The conservation easement on the property will be held by the Vermont Land Trust (VLT), one of the most respected conservation organizations in the nation. A working forest “partnership” with VLT offers the new owner predictability and cooperation, given the long history and respected reputation this land trust has established. An underlying 1994 Federal Legacy conservation easement under jurisdiction of the USFS is also part of the title.
A principal objective of the easement is to maintain and process productive forest resources and products. The terms of the easement prevent subdivision and future development of any kind; however, forestry and sugarbush operations, and construction of associated support infrastructure, are permitted.