Neal Pond Forest is well suited to the buyer seeking a long-term timber investment that offers additional appealing attributes such as lake frontage, homesite opportunity and subdivision potential.
· Standing timber value of $557,000;
· ±1,900’ of pristine lake frontage;
· Long, town-maintained road frontage, established internal access and sweeping mountain views;
· Homesite or subdivision potential;
· Brook frontage on Neal Brook.
Neal Pond Forest is situated in the Northeast Kingdom town of Lunenburg, Vermont, which shares a border with New Hampshire and the Connecticut River. Much of the township is rural and dominated by a forested landscape where homes are widely dispersed, except for clusters in some of its hamlets and along Neal Pond.
Lunenburg Village is 3 miles from the property along Route 2 and includes a convenience store, post office, elementary school and town municipal buildings. The short drive to the village is scenic along Colby and Bobbin Mill Roads, a highland area with nice homes, meadows and views of the White Mountains to the east.
Most residents commute to several nearby large towns for services and employment opportunities. Lancaster, New Hampshire, a vibrant community (population 3,360) is the closest, 10 miles to the east along the Connecticut and Israel Rivers. The town offers a full suite of amenities with an established downtown. Boston and Portland, Maine are each about a 2.5-hour drive to the south and southeast respectively.
The property has two primary points of access. Pond Hill Road is graveled and town-maintained, creating ±4,000’ of frontage along the land’s western boundary. Electric power and telephone service run along this road and terrain is variable, allowing for multiple potential new curb-cuts. There is one established old road that leads into the land’s southern end and towards the pond. There are seven year-’round homes along this road, opposite the land’s frontage. This area of the property also benefits from ±1,440’ of frontage along Hall Road, an unmaintained town road at the land’s western end.
Access to the eastern section of the land (east of Hall Brook) is provided by a ±760’, fully-developed right-of-way from Mohannan Road. Once on the land, this graveled road extends ±5,760’ to the property’s northeast end along Neal Brook. An additional 3,200’ of unimproved internal road lead to the property height of land at its northern end.
The property has ±1,920’ of shoreline frontage along the northern end of Neal Pond, a 185-acre water resource with a maximum depth of 33’ whose shoreline is lined with seasonal homes and camps. Neal Pond is one of the region’s well-known, recreational lakes with state access at its southern end and fisheries of pumpkinseed, yellow perch, bullhead, chain pickerel, small/large mouth bass and northern pike. The property’s lake frontage is primarily wetland, however its western end offers an area of tree-lined shoreline, well suited to a dock and building development overlooking the lake.
Both Neal and Hall Brooks run through the land, providing a year-’round running water resource. Neal Brook has a larger watershed, which originates to the north, draining the slopes of Cow and Adden Mountains. Wetlands and flowage areas cover 49 acres of the land, with the balance being commercial forestland.
Terrain is variable, with the majority of land being gently to moderately sloped. Some steep terrain exists on the east side of the two hilltops that exist on the land, one located at the junctions of Pond Hill and Hall Roads and the other at the land’s northern end. Soils are generally well drained and productive, with the exception of areas adjacent to the streams where slopes are level and waterflow is limited. Elevation ranges from 1,700’ ASL (above sea level) at the western hilltop to 1,200’ ASL along the Neal Pond frontage. Aspect is primarily southern.
While the property’s highest and best use is timber production and recreation, year-’round or seasonal home development is possible whether roadside along Pond Hill Road, closer to the pond near its northwestern end (road development required), or at the property’s center, overlooking the pond (with tree clearing).
Timber data taken in May 2019 reveal a total sawlog volume of 2,372 MBF International ¼” scale (2.3 MBF/acre), with 12,883 pulpwood cords (12.5 cords/acre). Combined total commercial per acre volume is 17.1 cords, a figure about average for the region. Stumpage values were assigned to the volumes in May of 2019, producing a property-wide Capital Timber Value (CTV) of $557,000 ($540/total acre).
The species composition is dominated by hardwoods (72%), with softwoods holding the balance (28%). Species composition for all products combined is typical for a Northeast Kingdom Vermont property with mixed soil types. The forest resource is led by sugar maple (19%), with other species consisting of spruce/fir (16%), yellow birch (12%), red maple (11%), aspen (8%), white pine (7%), white birch (6%), black cherry (6%), beech (4%) and common associates (such as tamarack, cedar and hemlock) completing the profile.
Since the tenure of the current owner began in 2001, forest management activity in the form of thinning and small group selection has been completed mostly on the western side of the property off Pond Hill Road on roughly 30% of the acreage. This forest management activity focused growth on the best stems, primarily favoring healthy trees of selected desirable species with large diameters. The small group patch cuts were limited to areas of undesirable species and poor stem quality.
Average diameter for all products combined is 9.0”, while the average sawlog diameter is 12.5”. The younger age class (4”-7” diameters) have become established from harvest cutting that occurred ±25 years ago, creating well-stocked stands of growing stock-sized stems. The balance of stocking (±55%) is primarily in middle-aged stands where trees are ±65 years old. Average sugar maple sawlog diameter is 12.5”, with spruce/fir at 10” and white pine at 20”.