Forest Management Underway at Hinesburg Town Forest
Forest management on the Hinesburg Town Forest will commence this winter. This activity will include the strategic harvesting of trees, designed to increase species and structural diversity in the forest, improve wildlife habitat, capture economic value in mature and declining trees, encourage the growth and development of a healthy forest, demonstrate responsible forest stewardship and to highlight Vermont’s working landscape. This harvest will also seek to promote the resilience of the Hinesburg Town Forest to climate change, natural disturbances, and the invasion of exotic pests, such as the Emerald Ash Borer.
The operation will be administered by Chittenden County Forester Ethan Tapper in accordance with a forest management plan written by Harris Roen of Long Meadow Resource Management and adopted by the Town. Hinesburg logger Tim Brown will cut the trees marked by Tapper over the next two winters, shipping most of the forest products generated to local markets.
In addition to demonstrating responsible forest stewardship, this operation will showcase the production of local, renewable resources from this public forest, and give the public opportunities to engage with this important aspect of Vermont’s working landscape. Public walks will be held throughout the process; stay tuned to Front Porch Forum and the Hinesburg Record for details on these.
Income generated from the harvest will be used to promote stewardship projects on Hinesburg’s two Town Forests, the Hinesburg Town Forest and the 301-acre LaPlatte Headwaters Town Forest, including trail maintenance and invasive species control.
The Hinesburg Town Forest is an 864.5-acre forested parcel owned by the Town of Hinesburg and with trailheads on Economou Road, Hayden Hill Road East and Hayden Hill Road West. Comprised of abandoned and tax-derelict old hill farms aggregated by the Town from the 1920’s-1950’s, the Hinesburg Town Forest is one of Vermont’s oldest and most storied municipal forests and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hinesburg Town Forest is a multi-use public resource, with a long and rich history of forest management, hunting, and other recreation coexisting on the property.
Since the 1980’s a recreational trail network has been developed in the Hinesburg Town Forest, and more recently this network has been enhanced and maintained by the Fellowship of the Wheel, a local mountain biking organization, in partnership with Hinesburg’s Town Forest Committee and Trails Committee. Fellowship of the Wheel will partner with the Town of Hinesburg to ensure that its members are educated and informed about the harvest and that trails in the Hinesburg Town Forest are protected or enhanced by this work.
The 2012 Management Plan for the Hinesburg Town Forest, with the 2017 Forest Management Plan attached, can be found on the Hinesburg Town Forest Committee’s page of the Town of Hinesburg’s website at http://www.hinesburg.org/townforestcomm.html