Forest Management on Campus

Those of you who've visited Yestermorrow's campus know that one of the things we have an abundance of here are trees. Of our 38-acre campus, about 22 acres are in woodland. When Yestermorrow purchased the property in 1990, the hillside had been previously logged, and had grown back in a mixture of pine, hemlock and some mixed hardwoods at the upper parts of the slope. Over the past 10 years we've harvested a handful of trees in our Stump to Sticker classes and milled them up for use in projects around campus. We also harvested nearly 10,000 board feet of pine last year from around the Chalet for use in our Natural Building Intensive class project at Knoll Farm.

This year we've taken a new fresh look at our forest management plan in anticipation of clearing a new cabin site on the north edge of our campus. As a result, we've decided to bring in a local logger to harvest a number of pines which we'll be able to mill and use for upcoming projects. At the same time, we'll clear space for a new 2 room cabin and our new fabric formed concrete structure. It makes sense for us to cut many of the surrounding mature pines at the same time, before they get too big to safely harvest (especially once the new cabins are in the way), and concentrate the inevitable disruption at one time. All in all we'll harvest 40-50 pines and a number of smaller poplars along the northern border of the campus in the next week or so.

While it'll be hard to see these big beautiful trees go when the skidder and chipper are here, we're looking forward to the long term possibilities that will result from the harvest. We will work to transition this mature pine stand into a mixed hardwood forest. The area opened up by the clearing is an ideal location for future food forest development especially in the form of large nut trees and hardwoods like oaks, walnuts, hickories, and chestnuts with some fruit trees along the edge of the meadow. The upcoming forest management activity represents an opportunity to stimulate real action on regenerative land transition on campus and move forward with our larger goals of campus master planning incorporating Permaculture principles.