Project Journal

January 23, 2005


Little Hogback Community Forest Hike, January 23, 2005: Fourteen participants join LHCF leader Deb Brighton

to explore the 115-acre Little Hogback forest.


It was a bright winter day today and cold, with temperature readings in the single digits and 6"of new snow on the ground. Geared with snowshoes, and all of us layered up, we met at the roadside property line to explore the woods for the first time as a group. We warmed up quickly as the access trails took us on a gradual climb up the southwest-facing slope of the Little Hogback.

A ways into the trees, David Brynn stopped by a northern red oak, marked with a blue blaze to explain some of the particulars of the pending timber sale. We received an intro course on the use of the VFF maple “cruising stick”, giving us a way to measure the potential grade of log, and volume of wood, that this one tree would yield.

It felt good to turn our snowshoes to the hill again and resume the warming hike that led us up through beech, ash and oak groves along the western property line. The colorful procession swapped stories and bits of forest knowledge until we arrived at the ridge clearing. Now in the open, the breeze carried the loose snow into swirls as dogs and large footed people gathered briefly at the top. Deb shared a batch of cookies and over the hill we shuffled down the steeper pitch of the southeast slope.

Emerging from this heavily wooded section of the forest onto the access trail, the group followed it down through the main part of the marked timber sale area. Before long the road came into view, snowshoes were stowed inside warming vehicles and saying good-bye for now, we set off toward home.


January 20, 2005

There was a good turnout tonight in Bristol for the third public presentation outlining the goals and prospects for the Community Forest in Monkton. With weather still a factor, twenty people gathered again at Howden Hall against a brittle cold blast of arctic air. This presentation, following the format of our previous two meetings, touched on VFF forestry practices and offered a visual glimpse of the land with a short slide show. The bulk of the evening was spent with Deb going through the Peoples Prospectus which generated a good deal of discussion and provided answers to many of the questions that people brought with them.

We have planned a group walk on the property for the coming weekend. We'll be meeting on Boro Hill Rd at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday Jan. 23. There's the possibility of catching the northern edge of a major winter storm that's developing so you'll want to bring snowshoes and warm clothing.


January 6, 2005

Amid one of the few snowfalls of the season, we held our second public meeting for the Little Hogback Community Forest LLC at Howden Hall in Bristol.
Tonight’s group discussed a number of the organizational details, including firewood allocation and cutting and hunting.

When the question of running the LLC as an owner-managed or manager-managed organization was raised, a show of hands indicated unanimous interest in having VFF administer the LLC, at least for the first few years until the group was on its feet. For more information on this aspect of LLC management, see the Peoples Prospectus (page 3, “Running The LLC”).

We received several calls from would-be participants, expressing their regrets at not being able to make tonight’s meeting, due to slippery roads. Because of this we have scheduled one more public meeting, to be held at Howden Hall, on Thursday January 20, 7:00pm to 8:30pm.


Community Forest Project Public Information Meetings --January 4 & 6, 2005. 28 community members attended two public meetings to learn more about participating in the Little Hogback Community Forest LLC. Community Forest Project manager Deb Brighton (center picture, on right) explained the LLC's organizational and financial details.


January 4, 2005

The first public meeting describing the Little Hogback Community Forest, LLC (LHCF) was held tonight at the Ilsley library in Middlebury, after several years of behind-the-scenes planning. Twenty people listened to a 1-1/2 hour presentation by Vermont Family Forests associates Deb Brighton and Netaka White, and David Brynn, VFF founder and Addison County forester.

Netaka provided both an aerial and ground tour of the property with a slide presentation, and David discussed VFF's mission and its application within the LHCF project and gave an overview of the property's forest ecology. Deb took the group step-by-step through the Peoples Prospectus, explaining the LLC's organizational and financial details.

Several people asked about our time line and how soon we thought the LLC would come together. To a large extent, that will depend on the pace that potential investors set. In order to make the purchase from Vermont Land Trust, all sixteen shares in the LLC must be sold, and if the meetings continue to generate this level of enthusiasm, we can anticipate doing so within a couple of months. In the mean time, we'll be leading a walk of the property on January 23rd at 2pm. We also welcome you to explore the property on your own at any time.