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Vermont Family Forests
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Conserving The Health Of Our Local Forest Community

VFF’s Community Forests Project

The Little Hogback Community Forest Project was completed by Deb Brighton and friends and there are now 16 proud owners who have access to all of the benefits of forest ownership and stewardship. Our partner organization, the Vermont Land Trust, included an article about the Little Hogback project in its new 2007-2008 annual report. To read the article, click here.

Project Description

In New England, forestland is becoming increasingly fragmented, with forestland ownership shifting to higher income, often non-resident property owners. VFF’s Community Forests Project offers nothing short of a new model for forestland ownership. After intensive research and planning, VFF is launching its first community forest, known as the Little Hogback Community Forest LLC (LHCF). The Project Background, below, will introduce you to the LHCF project. We encourage you to follow our progress on our Project Journal. Read about the nitty gritty of how the Little Hogback Community Forest LLC works on our Organizational Details page.


Little Hogback Community Forest, LLC

 
A living investment you can walk in, work with, and be proud of.VFF-sign-cairn

Project Journal

Schedule of Events

LHCF Project Organizational Details

Media Coverage

 

Maps

Location Map (Includes directions to the property)

Property Map

LHCF Topographic Map with Trails - 03_12_2015

 

Project Background


You may have noticed that it’s hard to buy forestland in Addison County if you are hoping to pay off your investment through selling timber. Vermont Family Forests, in collaboration with the Vermont Land Trust and with the generous support of a sponsor, is offering the Little Hogback Community Forest, LLC to Addison County residents who would like to buy and steward forest land, and receive a return on their investment.  


We plan to sell the Little Hogback Community Forest, a 115-acre parcel in Monkton, in a new way that would achieve two main goals: protect forest health and allow community members to hold the carefully managed forest land. To meet the first goal, what we will sell is the right to enjoy and profit from well-managed forestland: Subdivision, development, and over-cutting are off-limits. To meet the second goal, we will sell shares in the land to local community members, many of whom could not, individually, afford forestland. Their purchase will be an investment that would yield financial returns; and it would be an investment they could walk in, work with and be proud of.

The Vermont Land Trust will hold a conservation easement on the parcel to ensure that the land will be carefully managed in perpetuity, and that it will never be subdivided or developed. The easement will also lower the price of the land.

The additional contribution of a sponsor has further lowered the price to one that should provide a modest rate of return from the land under careful management. A covenant will allow VFF to repurchase the land, if it is ever sold, at a price that could similarly yield a return. This makes the parcel perpetually affordable to community members who need a return on their investment.


The underlying rights—including rights to cut firewood, harvest timber, hike, hunt, camp, etc.--will be sold to a Limited Liability Company comprising people who live in the area. Each member will own a share in the LLC and receive returns from the various products of the forest. Members can use their share of those products themselves or they can receive a return from the sale. Because of meticulous management geared toward the long term, the land should be more valuable as the forest grows older. We expect the members to receive about the same return on their investment that they would get if the money were in the bank. But, we also expect them to have the satisfaction of knowing their piece of the earth is well cared for, and to enjoy the land.

Little Hogback Community Forest will be managed according to Vermont Family Forests’ (VFF) principles, under the direction of a forester. This will not only protect forest health; it will also provide low-cost FSC certification and allow the LLC to be an active partner in VFF collaborative marketing opportunities such as the VFF Certified Portfolio, the Family Forest® brand, and Lump-Sum Plus sales.

The sixteen shares to be sold will cost less than $3000 and half of the shares would be reserved for community members whose incomes are below the county median. VFF will set up a revolving loan fund to help lower-income community members with their investment. Learn about the LLC operations in greater depth by reading the documents on our Organizational Details page.

Our Operating Agreement and Loan Agreement for the project are available for downloading on our LHCF Project Organizational Details page.