Strafford’s Tree Man Reflects on ‘Life’s Work’ in Taylor Valley Forest: Hemenway Recognized As ‘Tree Farmer Of The Year’

By Kate Spencer, The Herald of Randolph, 8/29/13

(Photo: Herald / Tim Calabro)

Ever since he bought his first 1000 acres in Taylor Valley in 1950 (at just $4 an acre), John Hemenway of Strafford has been the steady backbone of the Taylor Valley Tree farm, an expansive swatch of undeveloped forest that spans Strafford, Chelsea, Tunbridge, and Vershire.

Under Hemenway’s leadership, loggers and foresters transformed the valley from former farmland, which was growing up into brush, to one of the most heavily wooded areas in Orange County.

Today, at age 89, Hemenway owns 2400 acres that support a successful timber operation, exporting hardwood around the world. The land also serves as a wildlife habitat, an outdoor classroom, and a recreation spot for everyone from horseback riders to hunters to students at the nearby Mountain School in Vershire.

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