School Forest has been meticulously managed since 1983 with the intent of producing the current high-quality timber resource that exists today. While the forest offers an exceptional timber investment opportunity, an alternative use could be to create a mixed homestead/timber investment property.
School Forest is located in north-central Vermont, within a geographical transition area. To the east, south and north, and extending into Canada, there are an abundance of agricultural lands that run along the Black, Barton and Magog Rivers. To the west is the Lowell Range, which is largely a forested landscape with small farms in the valleys. The forest is situated on the eastern, lower slopes of the Lowell Range.
Irasburg Village is 3 miles to the east, which hosts a country grocery store, town hall and post office. Route 58, an east/west state highway is just north of the land, providing easy access to regional forest products markets within northern New England and into Canada. For commuters who intend on using the property for weekend or day-to-day use, Exit 26 off Interstate 91 is just 6 miles to the east. At this exit is the town of Orleans, a larger village with more services. The largest nearby town is Newport which is 12 miles to the north with large box stores and Lake Memphremagog, a lake, mostly in Canada, which covers an area of 687 square miles and stretches 31 miles north to south.
From the property, it is 3 hours southeast to Boston and 2 hours northwest to Montreal. Skiing at Jay Peak Resort is a 30-minute drive to the northwest
Alexander Road provides the main access to the property. This road commences off Route 58 and runs 0.3 miles as a Class 3, town-maintained road. The road continues another 0.2 miles as a Class 4 road before approaching the last year-round residence along this road. Beyond this point, the road continues as a private, legally-deeded road for 1,625’ to the property boundary. Once on the property, the road continues for another 3,125’ to the land’s southern end, where two existing landing areas for forest product sorting have been developed along the way. The entire access road is in good condition and drivable by most vehicle types.
The eastern slopes of the property have traditionally been accessed for over 3 decades through the neighboring farmland. That farmer maintains the ±11.5 acres of fields that are part of the property, situated at the north central boundary area.
The property is situated along the lower slopes on the eastern side of the Lowell Mountain Range, and just west of Round Hill. Terrain is quite variable, with the steepest slopes along the upper elevation of the Lowell Range and an area at the northern end of Round Hill. In between, terrain is often gently sloping, with rock outcroppings scattered as the land falls towards the Round Hill area.
Soil drainage and productivity are very good; however, wetlands along each of the upland streams have been designated as non-productive forestland and cover ±55 acres.
While the property has traditionally been used for long-term timber production, the access and terrain provide good opportunity for the development of a private homestead where views of the nearby Lowell Mountain Range would provide a fine, scenic backdrop
Timber data in this report are based on a comprehensive and monumented timber inventory conducted in July of 2019 for the purpose of establishing Capital Timber Value (CTV). 142 inventory points were sampled (1 plot per 4.5 commercial acres), covering a 445’ X 445’ grid using a 15-factor prism. Sampling statistics are ±12.1% standard error for sawlog products and ±8.1% for all products combined at the 95% confidence interval. The timber data reveal a total sawlog volume of 3,472 MBF International ¼” scale (5.5 MBF/acre), with 8,425 pulpwood cords (13.2 cords/acre). Combined total commercial per acre volume is 24.2 cords, a figure about average for the region. Stumpage values were assigned to the volumes in July of 2019, producing a property-wide (CTV) of $1,002,000 ($1,576/total acre).
The species composition is dominated by hardwoods (86%), with softwoods holding the balance (14%). Species composition for all products combined offers a solid mix of valuable species and is led by sugar maple (41%), with the primary other species consisting of red maple (13%), yellow birch (12%), white ash (11%) and hemlock (7%). Common associates hold the balance. The sawlog volume breakdown is similar but, through years of good management, has concentrated the overstory trees to a more favorable species mix.
The average basal area (BA) is 77 sq ft on 143 stems/acre. Overall this represents a fully-stocked forest, given the hardwood species composition. However, stocking is variable, as some stands have been thinned and others have had a shelterwood or seed tree harvest treatment applied. Stem quality is exceptional, with nearly all of the resource existing as Acceptable Growing Stock (AGS), a testament to the high silvicultural standard conducted by the ownership since their tenure started in 1983.
Average diameter for all products combined is 14.0”, while the average sawlog diameter is 15.0”, demonstrating that the shelterwoods conducted truly retained the largest and best stems. The diameter distribution generally indicates a three-aged resource, with the majority of the volume nearing maturity and/or late-middle aged (the latter 65-75 years old). Average sawlog diameter for the three major species are sugar maple at 15.5”, red maple 16.5”, and white ash 18.0”.