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Phelps Road Forest

Topsham, Orange County, VT
05086
Price: $200,000
Acres: 86
Type: Multiple Uses
Availability: Available
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Introduction
Location
Access
Site Description
Timber

Introduction

For sale for the first time in a family generation, the land is ideally suited to the development of a year-round homesite, while continuing the growth of the existing timber crop.

Property highlights include quiet country location with town-maintained access and adjacent electric power, 13 acres of open meadows with nice local views, exceptional timber resource with standing value estimated to be $113,000, hobby sugarbush opportunity with 3,680 taps, and stone walls on gentle terrain.

Location

The property is in a scenic country setting in the town of Topsham, which is situated in east-central Vermont. Topsham is primarily forested, with mountain tops rising to between 1,700’ and 2,000’ Above Sea Level (ASL). The majority of the terrain in this area sits at elevations between 1,200’ and 1,400’. The town has two notable valleys, with Waits River and Route 25 running through the  western valley. The small villages of West Topsham and Waits River are located in this valley. The eastern valley is more narrow and hosts the Topsham/Corinth Road, East Topsham Village and Topsham Four Corners. The entire population of the township is 1,140.

The Waits River Valley school is a few miles from the property, serving K-8.

The land is situated along a quiet dirt road high on a hill just east of the Waits River Valley. A few homes are situated near the land’s access point.

Bradford is the nearest larger town which sits along I-91, 12 miles to the south. 22 miles to the north are the twin cities of Barre and Montpelier.  Boston is about a 2.5-hour drive to the southeast.

Access

Access is provided by roughly 150’ of direct frontage along Phelps Road, a gravel, town-maintained road located a short distance up in the hills above the Waits River Valley and Route 25. An existing driveway leads from the road frontage into the larger meadow that is situated at the land’s northeast quadrant.  This driveway into the field offers easy access for future home construction and forestry activities.

An internal woods trail runs off the driveway and into the woods, paralleling the east side of the property’s main stream. 

Electric power runs across from the road frontage.

Site Description

The property’s terrain is mostly gently sloped, creating southern exposure at the larger meadow (roughly 9 acres in size) and southern to eastern aspect on the other old fields (these areas are beginning to develop with young trees as the area has not been bush-hogged in a few years). The balance of the land has eastern and western aspects with the modestly steep terrain comprised of slopes leading to the main stream.

The headwaters of a small stream originate on the land, running in a southerly direction and located near the property’s center. The stream runs year-round with the exception of dry summer periods. 

The high point on the forest (1,460’ ASL) is at the property’s western boundary, with the low point (1,180’ ASL) at the place where the stream exits the land across the southern boundary. The larger meadow sits at 1,400’. Soils are generally well drained with the exception of a few small areas close to the property’s main stream. Various stone walls run through the forestland, delineating different land uses and forest types.

The property offers an attractive site to build a home within the larger meadow or in a smaller field at the land’s northeastern corner. Both sites offer privacy and nice local views.

Timber

The timber resource has been carefully managed, producing the exceptional stands that exist today. A timber inventory in the winter of 2014 for the purpose of updating the forest management plan reveals a total sawlog volume of 451 MBF International ¼” scale (5.8 MBF/acre), with 1,363 pulpwood cords (19.2 cords/acre). Combined total commercial per acre volume is 30.9 cords (a figure well above average for the region). Stumpage values were assigned to the volumes in January 2019, producing a property-wide Capital Timber Value (CTV) of $113,400 ($1,597/commercial acre).

Hardwoods are the dominant species, holding 83% of total volume.  The individual species composition is dominated by sugar maple (58%), followed by white pine (15%).

All stands are fully stocked (total basal area of 84 square feet), with exceptional stem quality in the hardwoods. Average diameter of the sawlog component by volume is 16”, with average diameter for all products combined at 14”. The average diameter of the three main species is 15.0” for sugar maple, 19.0” for white pine, and 16.0” for white ash.

Orange County, Vermont is well known for producing some of the finest sugar maple in the country due to its soils which are perfectly suited to maple growth. This, combined with careful management, has produced the exceptional maple resource that grows on the property today.

The forest management plan indicates that thinning last occurred 25 years ago. Thinning and harvest cuts are available anytime, providing near term income for the new owner.

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