Moretown Gap Forest is a versatile property with potential for: 1) home development made easy by the land’s long road frontage, level terrain and nearby town village, 2) sugarbush conversion with the high concentrations of maple stands, and 3) conservation given the land’s unique size and location within the landscape.
The property is in a rural setting one mile from Moretown village and a short drive to job centers, skiing and shopping. Homes near the land are dispersed and generally well maintained, creating an attractive rural neighborhood. Nearby Moretown Village hosts an elementary school, a well-appointed country store and town offices.
The adjacent towns to the north and south, Waterbury and Waitsfield (each 10 miles from the property), offer diverse job markets, a variety of retail stores and specialty restaurants. Multiple skiing venues are also nearby, including Mad River Glen, just 11 miles from the land.
Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, and the Stowe Mountain Ski Resort are both a 45-minute drive to the west and north, respectively. Boston is about a 3-hour drive to the southeast.
The property has two primary points of access. The graveled, town-maintained, Moretown Mountain Road, providing 6,260’ of frontage along the land’s northern boundary. Electric power and telephone service run along this road and terrain is variable, allowing for various potential new curb-cuts. There are three established driveway cuts, one located at the western end, one in the middle, and one at the height of land. An internal road leading from the middle driveway cut extends into the land for 950’, ending at a large clearing.
The western 20% of the property is accessed by 475’ of frontage on graveled, town-maintained South Hill Road. Electric power and telephone service also run along this road.
The property is entirely forested with primarily northern and western aspects. The forest is named after Moretown Gap, which sits at the crest of the town road along the Northfield Mountain Range. The property includes the southern section of the gap, giving rise to notable views to the west.
Topography is quite variable. Most of the higher terrain is comprised of moderate to steep slopes, while there is more gentle terrain near the road frontage and lower, western areas. Elevation ranges from 1,983’ at the peak along the Northfield Range to 1,000’ along South Hill Road. Soils are primarily well drained with no wetlands present.
The property’s entire northern section near the Moretown Mountain Road frontage offers many ideal locations to develop home sites. With tree clearing, this area provides attractive local views of nearby forestland. The view also includes a panoramic view of the Green Mountain Range that extends from Mt. Abraham at Sugarbush Ski Resort to Camels Hump and beyond to the north. From some areas the view also covers the southern end of the Worcester Range with Mt. Hunger in sight and Mt. Mansfield to the northwest.
2016 timber data reveal a total sawlog volume of 3,948 MBF International ¼” scale (5.6 MBF/acre), with 11,086 pulpwood cords (15.8 cords/acre). Combined total commercial per acre volume is 27.1 cords, a figure modestly above average for the region. Growth and stumpage values were assigned to the volumes in January 2019, producing a property-wide Capital Timber Value (CTV) of $899,400 ($1,158/total acre).
The species composition is dominated by hardwoods (79%), with softwoods holding the balance (21%). Species composition for all products combined mirrors that of a managed northern hardwood forest type. The Subject’s resource is led by sugar maple (40%), with the primary other species consisting of yellow birch (11%), hemlock (10%), red maple (9%), white ash (8%), spruce/fir (8%), beech (5%) and common associates (such as white pine, white birch and basswood) completing the profile.
Sawlog value is largely dominated by sugar maple (59%), with red spruce, yellow birch and white ash each holding 10%.
The property offers a sugarbush opportunity on an estimated 68% of its acreage. Two stands were identified with high maple concentrations and sugarbush potential, and the timber inventory data were run for each stand.
Stand 1 covers 479 acres with 24,089 estimated taps (52 taps/ac) and slopes to the north towards Moretown Mountain Road where electric power is roadside (although some of the land slopes to the west to South Hill Road, which also has electric power). Stand 2 covers 50 acres with 3,239 estimated taps (65 taps/ac) and slopes to the east. Its flow direction is uncertain as some of the stand may run northeast to Moretown Gap.
Total tap count for the entire property is 27,328 (52 taps/ac) with roughly 85% of the taps from sugar maple and the balance from red maple. Trees 9” and greater were considered. Also, the timber data indicate an additional 4,245 taps may become available in the coming decades from the maple resource within the 8” diameter class.