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Woodstock, VT – This year’s forestry operations at the National Park will begin later this month. Forest stands will be thinned by removing some trees and leaving the healthiest to grow. Thinning will help to preserve historic plantations, representative of the evolution of forest management at the park.
Treatment areas include two historic white pine and Norway spruce plantations near the Pogue, and several mixed pine hardwood stands in the southwest corner of the park. New to the program this year is the participation of local youth through the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. This crew will learn forestry techniques including the selection of trees to retain, and will release those trees from competition.
Park staff in consultation with Redstart Forestry of Corinth, Vermont developed the treatments in accordance with the forest management plan completed in 2007. Most of the work will be conducted by Long View Forest Contracting, Inc. of Westminster, Vermont. Draft horses will be used in addition to mechanized equipment to pull logs out of the woods. Wood produced from the thinning will be used to heat the park’s Forest Center or sold to local wood craft-producers or wood markets. The wood will be Forest Stewardship CouncilTM certified (FSC®C004011). FSC® certification encourages the highest standards of woodland management through credible, independent evaluation and verification of exemplary forestry practices.
The project is expected to take approximately 8 weeks to complete. Temporary trail closures will be required for public safety, but alternate routes will be clearly marked. The Prosper Road parking lot will remain open throughout this year’s forestry work.
The Mount Tom forest is the oldest professionally managed forest in the United States. Forest management on Mount Tom began in 1869 when Frederick Billings purchased the land from the Marsh family and established an estate that would serve as a model of wise stewardship. Billings’s granddaughter, Mary, and her husband, Laurance S. Rockefeller, sustained this stewardship approach and entrusted the National Park Service to continue forest management on the property.
A ranger-led tour “The Future of the Forest” exploring the Mount Tom forest history and stewardship will be offered this summer. Visit www.nps.gov/mabi for a schedule of programs. For further information, please contact Kyle Jones, Chief or Resource Management at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, (802) 457-3368.