Orange Oxbow Forest represents an attractive timber investment opportunity, dominated by a sugar maple sawlog resource that is well-maintained to robust asset appreciation from growth and long-term harvest of the timber resource.
The current family has held the land since the early ’60s and professionally managed over that period.
Property highlights include:
· Attractive central Vermont location with good access to major state highways allowing for easy access to the regions forest products markets;
· Species composition dominated by sugar maple, which accounts for 61% of the species composition;
· Solid, long-term timber investment, where the asking price is well below the standing capital timber value;
· Existing developed access road into the land;
· Low holding cost with annual taxes of $810/year.
The property is located in north-central Vermont, within a mostly forested region where widely scattered homes are located along the town roads.
Locally, the property is just 3 miles west of the small Hamlett of West Topsham and Route 25. West Topsham has a local country store, community church and post office.
The land offers great access to regional state roads to facilitate trucking to forest product markets in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, and beyond to Quebec, Canada. The east-west Route 302 is 6 miles from the land, providing easy access to Interstate 91 and 89, 18 miles to the east and west.
Barre, Vermont is 13 miles to the west and is the largest nearby town with a population of 8,500. Both Montpelier and Bradford, Vermont are each 18 miles to the west and east (respectively). Boston is a 2.75-hour drive to the southeast.
The property has traditionally been accessed by agreement with the adjacent landowner via an established woods truck road that runs +/-.7 miles from the Warsley-Fish Pond Road Junction. This access road is blocked off with large boulders and thus not drivable at this time. However, the road is in good condition and can be “opened up” for winter forest management operations with modest grading and ditch work. However, permission would have to be granted by the adjacent landowner as it appears the property title may not contain a deeded access route. The access road runs along gently sloping terrain with no brook crossings. The road can be upgraded to summer access with additional modest ditching, grading, and spot graveling. The road appears suitable for trailer truck access, given the lack of noticeable grades and sharp turns.
Once on the land, the access road continues as a woods trail with old skid trails leading from it into the woods.
The property’s name corresponds to the land’s ox-bow terrain, where three sides of the property are essentially rimmed by ridgelines. The center of the land contains the headwaters of an un-named, year-round mountain stream that exits the land to the southeast, following the direction of the access road. This “ox-bow” property shape facilitates access with all of the land’s terrain sloping towards the access road.
The property’s terrain holds various slope types, including gently sloping terrain near the stream and along the ridgetops, with moderate to at times steep terrain as the land gets close to some of the ridgelines. The height of elevation is 2,420’ at the land’s northern ridge top. The low elevation is 1,900’ where the stream exits the property.
Nearly all the terrain is compatible with mechanical harvesting systems and the soils are primarily well-drained and well suited to its primary species of sugar maple and spruce.
The timber inventory data reveals a total sawlog volume of 1,485 MBF International ¼” scale (5.2 MBF/commercial acre) with 5,857 pulpwood cords (20.6 cords/commercial acre). The combined total commercial per acre volume is 31.6 cords, a figure well above average for the region. Stumpage values were assigned to the volumes in June of 2021, producing a property-wide Capital Timber Value (CTV) of $388,400 ($1,367/commercial acre).
A species composition dominated by hardwoods prevails, with hardwoods at 85% and softwoods at 15% of total volume, reflective of a well-drained upper slope site. Species composition for all products combined offers a favorable mix and is heavily led by sugar maple at 61% of total volume, followed by beech (11%), spruce/fir (9%), yellow birch (5%), white pine (5%) and other miscellaneous species making up the balance. This is a sugar maple property with the sawlog volume breakdown consisting largely of sugar maple, with a minor component of other species with historically strong demand.
Overall, forest stocking is quite high despite a past thinning in the early ’90s and harvest in 2000. The average Basal Area (BA) is 103 ft2 on 196 stems/acre. The Acceptable Growing Stock BA is 49 ft2.
The average diameter for all products combined by volume is 12.5”, while the average sawlog diameter is 13.5”. The average diameter for the three major species is sugar maple 14”, white pine 17”, and spruce/fir 10”.
The conservation easement on the property is 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.
A principal objective of the easement is to conserve productive forestry resources and to encourage the long-term, professional management of those resources, and to facilitate the economically sustainable production of forest resources while protecting water resources, scenic vistas, and wildlife habitat.
Easement highlights include:
· Most sustainable and traditional forestry and sugarbush activities are permitted to support the long-term stewardship of the protected property;
· The property can be posted to exclude public access;
· Silvicultural activities to be carried out under an approved 10-year forest management plan.
· Structures limited to sugaring and forest management uses. No homes or camps can be placed on the land.
Copies of the easement are available upon request.