This winter PLC will be carrying out a timber harvest at our Tuthill Woodlands of Preserve in New Boston. The 195-acre the preserve is one of PLC’s single largest land ownerships, and also one of the best suited to forest management. At the time of PLC’s purchase of the property from the Tuthill family in 2003, we knew that the land had been thoughtfully managed to grow timber, and that forestry was something we would want to continue on the land. Our fact sheet about the Tuthill project at the time said PLC (then PWA) intended to “manage it for timber, guided by sustainable forestry practices, wildlife needs, and protection of historic resources, water quality, and other resource values on the property.”
In 2016 PLC commissioned a full forest inventory and ten-year management plan for the Tuthill Preserve that gave us the detailed guidance we need to sustainably harvest timber according to these conservation principles. The plan was written by licensed foresters from TEMCO, a division of Meadowsend Timberlands, who have extensive expertise in timber management on conserved properties. In the fall of 2016 PLC and the TEMCO foresters led a public walk so that neighbors and PLC members could learn about the management plan’s recommendations for continuing the tradition of good forest management at Tuthill. The same foresters will lay out and oversee this winter’s harvest. The harvest should take about a month, (cold) weather permitting. We plan on running at least one public “timber tour” while the harvest is in progress.
Like most forested properties in our area, the Tuthill Preserve tells a story of 19th- century settlement, intensive use, and abandonment. The land was home to four generations of the Gregg family between the start of the 19th century to around 1880. Using only human and animal power, the land was extensively cleared to create pasture and cropland. But by the late 19th Century the Gregg farm was abandoned and the forest quickly began to re-establish itself. By the mid-1900s, the land had grown back as a woodlot, and has been periodically harvested for timber ever since. An improvement cut (the forestry equivalent of weeding a garden) was conducted in the ‘60s followed by two additional thinnings and ongoing firewood removal into the early 1990s.