The Hinesburg Town Forest is a public forest located in Hinesburg, VT. The property is 1,125 acres and is stewarded by the Town of Hinesburg Forest Committee. As a public forest, the Hinesburg Town Forest serves the public by providing recreation, education, and a space to connect with nature.
The Forest is managed in a way that balances human and natural interests. The Forest includes extensive trails which are open year-round and other spaces for recreation, and management fulfills these desires. However, it is also managed to maintain and enhance the natural communities and wildlife that exist in the area. Education is also an important aspect of the Hinesburg Town Forest. The Forest seeks to be a model and example of the value of forests to the community. This is done through demonstrations and educational offerings that show the management practices that are used on the property, insights into the natural communities that exist in the forest, and more.
Pat Mainer is the Chairperson of the Town of Hinesburg Forest Committee and answered some questions on the HTF and Tree Farm
When did the Hinesburg Town Forest become a Tree Farm and how did you first become involved in the program?
I joined the Town Forest Committee in the early 1980s and it was in the Tree Farm program then.
Briefly describe the Tree Farm: What is the size of the property? What are the goals for the Tree Farm? What types of management are employed on the property?, etc.
The answers to these questions (good ones, thank you) can be found by reading the Management Plan found here. (It says it is a draft, but it was approved by the Selectboard!)
What does being in the Tree Farm program mean to you?
To me it means that we have an independent observer ensuring that we are meeting our commitment to protecting watersheds and wildlife habitat, conserving soil, and providing recreation; and at the same time producing wood products on a sustainable basis.
What do you value about the Tree Farm program?
It promotes responsible sustainable forestry and education about forests.
Why should a landowner join the Tree Farm program?
To be advised about the best ways to manage their forest.
Do you have any advice for landowners that have recently joined Tree Farm?
Learn as much as possible from as many experts as possible.
What are some ways that you would suggest to get the next generation involved in Tree Farm?
Get young people out on the land and in the forest a lot!
Are there any unique challenges to managing a public Tree Farm like the Hinesburg Town Forest as opposed to private property?
We know we can’t please everybody all the time, but we have received almost no criticisms and have received lots of accolades about our management of the HTF. I think that’s because there has been a lot of public outreach, largely, but not exclusively, by our Chittenden County
Forester, Ethan Tapper.