Quimby Mountain Forest represents a long-term timber investment opportunity with attractive species composition and mostly well-drained soils on sloping terrain, providing for solid asset appreciation from long-term timber growth and management.
The ownership, The Conservation Fund (TCF), is a non-profit conservation organization whose Mission Statement is “TCF, working with public, private and nonprofit partners, protects America’s legacy of land and water resources through land acquisition, sustainable community and economic development, and leadership training, emphasizing the integration of economic and environmental goals”. Their goal in divesting is to raise funds to further their forestland conservation work on new projects.
Investment highlights include:
Quimby Mountain Forest is located in a mountainous region of central Vermont which is, surprisingly, sparsely developed, given its close proximity to some of the state’s most popular destinations. Known as the Chateauguay-Notown Region, this scenic area has a rich working landscape heritage, as evidenced by the numerous stone walls and cellar holes that cover the hillsides. In the late 19th century, there was even a brief gold rush episode. Now the area is largely forested and hosts the Appalachian Trial (0.5 miles from the property to the north), Thundering Falls Trail (1.3 miles from the property), and many large, protected properties.
The Chateauguay-Notown Region covers nearly 60,000 acres and is bounded by Routes 12 to the east, 4 to the south, 100 to the west, and 107 to the north. The property is located in the area’s southwestern quadrant. Because of its undeveloped nature, the region has been the focus of many conservation groups and individuals who have worked to protect its unique landscape. To date, over 30% of the area has been protected from development by various means (see location map for designation of protected lands in the region). The region’s scenic and natural significance has also made it a coveted place for investment.
The northeastern quarter of the township of Killington, the home of Quimby Mountain Forest, largely falls within the Chateauguay-Notown Region.
The majority of Killington’s population and residences are located near the Killington Ski Resort which is 4.5 miles from the property. Killington, with a population of less then 1,000, is largely a tourist town surrounding its ski resort. Many hotels, inns, shops and restaurants are located along the resort’s access road and along Route 4/100.
Bridgewater is located 11 miles to the east along Route 4, with Woodstock Village 7 additional miles further east. Rutland, Vermont’s third largest city, is 13 miles to the west. Boston is a 3-hour drive to the southeast and New York is 4.5 hours to the southwest.
The property’s truck access for forest management purposes originates to the northeast of the land in the Town of Stockbridge at the end of Stony Brook Road, in an area referred to as Notown. The beginning section of this access road runs along the Class IV part of Stony Brook Road and then becomes a legally-deeded private road which was reconstructed around 1998. The access road runs +/-3 miles from Stony Brook Road to the eastern end of the property. For forest management purposes, the road would require some improvements to support trucking of forest products in association with any future silvicultural activities on the property.
Once on the property the road runs +/-3,300’ across the land’s northeastern section. From this internal access road, woods trails extend to the south and west, accessing all of the land north of Taylor Brook.
The land south of Taylor Brook, the southern third of the property, appears to have been accessed in the past via an adjacent landowner to the west along River Road. The lands near the headwaters of Taylor Brook (at the property’s southeastern end) was accessed across an adjacent landowner to the east from a road that extends south from the Stony Brook access road.
Additional access for high-clearance vehicles is provided by Quimby Mountain Road which begins on River Road and runs +/-1.1 miles to the property. Where this road first enters the property, there is a driveway to the right (east) that leads to a site with views to Killington Ski Resort (with tree clearing). Quimby Mountain Road then becomes a right-of-way through lands owned by the Forest Service to the north, then connecting to the property’s main internal road system.
The property has variable terrain, characterized by mostly moderate slopes with some steep terrain along the stream channels and in the southern part of the land. All aspects are present; however, a westerly aspect predominates.
Elevation ranges from 1,280’ ASL (above sea level) at the land’s southwest corner (near River Road) to 2,620’ ASL at the land’s northeast tip. The land’s upland and sloping terrain creates well-drained, productive soils throughout the property, supporting the hardwood timber resource that prevails.
Both Taylor and Quimby Brooks originate on the property, each running low in the summer months and fast during spring runoff. The property’s northern high ground along the access road offers long views to the west and southwest with tree clearing.
Timber data in this report are based on a timber inventory, conducted in the fall of 2018 by the ownership’s forest consultant, Redstart Natural Resource Management. Stumpage values were assigned to the volumes in March of 2019, producing a property-wide Capital Timber Value (CTV) of $699,000 ($832/total acre).
A species composition dominated by hardwoods prevails, with hardwoods at 89% and softwoods at 11% of total volume. Species composition for all products combined offers a favorable mix led by sugar maple at 36% of total volume, with yellow birch (14%), red spruce (9%) and red maple (7%). Other common northern hardwoods and hemlock exist as associates, making up the balance. The sawlog volume breakdown consists largely of species with historically strong demand, dominated by sugar maple, yellow birch and red spruce.
Overall, forest stocking is variable, with the overstory generally fully stocked. Natural regeneration has become fully established in areas that were previously thinned or intended to be regenerated well over two decades ago. Average Basal Area (BA) is 99 ft2 on 161 stems/acre.
Average diameter for all products combined by volume is 13.5”, while the average sawlog diameter is close to 16”. Average diameters for the three major species are sugar maple 16”, yellow birch 15.5” and red spruce 13.5”. Financial maturity for most hardwood sawlog species is 18-24”, therefore many of the stands on this property are within 20-35 years of generating considerable income.
The seller is retaining an option over the next 10 years to acquire a conservation easement covering the property from the new owner. This Option will allow the seller to purchase a conservation easement at a value of 75% of the fair market value of the conservation easement (based on appraised value), at the time the option is exercised. This Option offers the new owner an active partner who will work to secure the necessary funding to purchase the easement, providing an alternative revenue source during their ownership tenure. During the 10-year option term, the owner shall maintain the land’s enrollment in the Use Value Appraisal program in good standing and not develop or subdivide the land unless mutually agreed upon with the option holder.
A copy of the Option Agreement is available upon request.