The Forest is a long-term timber investment opportunity with attractive species composition, productive soils, developed access, and excellent potential for asset appreciation from the timber resource. The ownership, Atlas Timberlands Partnership, is a collaboration between two well-known conservation groups - The Nature Conservancy and the Vermont Land Trust. Together, they have held the property (along with other lands) 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:
The Forest lies in the northern Vermont township of Richford & Jay, home to the Jay Peak Ski Resort situated 10 miles south. The ski hamlets of Montgomery and Montgomery Center are situated 16 and 18 miles to the southwest. Richford is the largest nearby town which is located 9 miles to the west along Route 105. The region along Route 105 is highly scenic, showcasing the tall peaks of the northern Green Mountain Range, and is rich with recreation opportunities, including the Long Trail, which passes just east of the land.
The property has long frontage along Route 105, one of the area's main transportation corridors, which runs east-west, providing exceptional access to forest product markets north of the border in Quebec, Canada, as well as regional US markets.
Vermont's largest city, Burlington, is 1.2 hours to the southwest. Montreal is under a 2-hour drive to the northwest and Boston is 4 hours southeast. The Canadian border is roughly 1.2 miles from the northern boundary.
The property offers excellent access to three of the five watersheds. The land’s 2.9 miles of paved frontage along Route 105 offers exceptional access to Watershed Zones #1 & #2, with established landings along the State road. Electric power is located near the center of the Route 105 road frontage.
Access to Watershed Zone #4 is provided by an established right-of-way road that commences from the end of the Stevens Mills Slide Road and runs easterly +/-1,890’ to the boundary. Electric power is roughly 1.2 miles from Watershed Zone #4.
Access to the small Watershed Zone #3 has traditionally been through the neighbor to the west and is a short distance (+/-800’) from the boundary to Stevens Mills Slide Road through the neighbor where power is available along the town road.
While developed access is provided to Watershed Zone #5, there is a gap in the legal right to use this road as it runs through the lands of Howarth (see marketing maps). However, this road has been used to access this zone in the past.
The above-mentioned right-of-way access roads to Units 4 & 5 are limited to forest management uses only (so these access points are not usable for sugarbush operations without permission from the neighboring landowners).
The property’s terrain is variable with moderate to steep slopes covering most of the land, however, all areas are operable with the exception of a few steep slopes along some drainages. Generally, conditions for forest operations are good within the acreage delineated for forest management or sugarbush operations.
Soils are mostly well-drained, a site attribute that has resulted in the species composition largely dominated by sugar maple and yellow birch, species that thrive on well-drained, productive soils. The various streams on the land originate on the property and at the top of their watersheds. During rainy periods and snow melt these streams will swell and run fast, tumbling downhill over bounders and creating small falls.
Elevation ranges from 3,015’ ASL (Above Sea Level) along the southern boundary which follows 2.6 miles along several mountain peaks, to 985’ ASL near the Route 105 road frontage.
Timber data in this report are based on a monumented and comprehensive timber inventory completed in the fall of 2017. After applying growth for 2018-2022 using regional FIA data averages, the timber data reveal a total sawlog volume of 9,686 MBF International ¼” scale (3.7 MBF/commercial acre) with 40,641 pulpwood cords (15.6 cords/commercial acre). The combined total commercial per acre volume is 23 cords, close to the regional average. Stumpage values were assigned to the volumes in January of 2023, producing a property-wide Capital Timber Value (CTV) of $2,823,300 ($1,084/ acre). Note that the timber data is based only on the productive forest stands and NOT any of the acreage within the “No Touch” zone.
A species composition dominated by hardwoods prevails, with hardwoods at 98% and softwoods at 2% of total volume. Species composition for all products combined offers a favorable mix and is led by sugar maple (63%), followed by yellow birch (21%), with other common hardwoods and softwoods comprising the balance. The sawlog volume breakdown consists largely of sugar maple (70%) and yellow birch (22%). This species composition is well suited to a long-term timber investment and/or sugarbush, with solid markets regionally and into Quebec for the products produced on the land.
Portions of the property represent a potential sugarbush leasing opportunity, given the high maple stocking and terrain which slopes downhill to the access points. The timber data indicate a total gross potential tap count of 159,0000 taps, with 99% of the taps from sugar maple. Trees 9" and greater were considered, providing an average of 61 taps/acre, covering the property's commercial acres.
The tap estimate is broken down into five watershed zones (see Tap Map). Note that while the Tap Map used 9" stems, the data was from 2017, and given growth since that period, it is assumed that most 9" stems are now 10" stems; therefore, the gross tap count realistically starts at 10" and NOT 9' stems.
Tap Units 1 & 2 can easily be leased, given the access is via the Route 102 road frontage. Tap leasing to Units 3, 4 & 5 is possible with permission from the adjacent landowners, some of which are existing sugarbush operators who may desire to expand their operations.
The marketing maps designate the location of the nearest electric power near Route 105 (along West Jay Road) and along Stevens Mills Slide Road.
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. A working forest "partnership" with VLT offers the new owner predictability and cooperation, given the long history and solid reputation this land trust has established regarding the easement lands under its jurisdiction.
A principal objective of the easement's commercial acreage is to maintain, grow and harvest forest resources and products on a sustainable basis. The terms of the easement prevent subdivision and future development of any kind; however, forestry and sugarbush operations, and the construction of associated support infrastructure, are permitted.
Easement highlights include: