Woodland - Winter 2019 - 27

"REALIZING THAT WITHOUT SUCCESSION PLANNING, A FOREST CAN OFTEN BE
BROKEN UP BY THE ATTRACTION OF SUBDIVISION, WE HAVE TRIED TO INSTILL IN
OUR CHILDREN A LOVE FOR FAMILY FORESTS AND A KNOWLEDGE OF THE PRACTICAL
BENEFITS OF FOREST MANAGEMENT FOR REVENUE."
BY ELLEN RYAN

T

he Parker family of Vermont has been growing
trees for almost four decades. But that's not what
they would tell you they are doing. Rather they are
improving wildlife habitat, spreading the message of good
stewardship and growing their own legacy by protecting
their forest and supporting the cause to teach others.
Planting the Seeds
Though Peter and Julie Parker spent their youths
in the upper Midwest, both have generations of roots
in New England - Peter mainly in New Hampshire and
Maine, Julie in Vermont. The two met at Middlebury
College and married after graduation. Eventually they
and their growing family settled in California.
In 1981, Julie Parker was an arts editor of a local
newspaper; her husband owned a business selling
industrial tools. Well into careers and childrearing, "we
sought a change from city living that could give us a
Vermont experience with a hands-on connection to our
own piece of New England forestland," says Julie.
The two were thrilled to find an old hill farm in tiny
Granville, VT, in the Green Mountains near Middlebury.
Now the 2018 Vermont Tree Farmers of the Year
are focusing on ensuring their land is protected for
generations to come.
The land included 187 acres of forest that neither
knew much about managing. "Acquiring the skills
and science of stewardship forestry became our new
avocation," says Peter. At first, they spent several
weeks there each summer, but in 1986, Peter sold his
business, and the two lived for large blocks of time on
the farm.
With the way forward about as clear as the tangled
underbrush, the couple called county forester Tom
Bahre for guidance. Tom met with the Parkers and gave
them advice that would kickstart their stewardship. "He
helped us find stone boundary walls and laid out our
first forest road as we trooped beside him," says Peter.
Bahre also identified a 10-acre pine plantation that the
Parkers hadn't noticed and encouraged them to prune
the smaller trees to help the more valuable trees thrive.
He also urged them to bring in a private professional
forester to advise on managing the many challenges
and promises that lay ahead.

"We had bought a badly neglected piece of
timberland," says Peter, reflecting on some of the couple's
first realizations, "but with hard work, it had potential."
And so, the hard work commenced.
The Parkers took Bahre's advice and hired forester
Randy Wilcox, an inspector with the American Tree Farm
System. Wilcox got to know the Parkers and the goals
they had for their land, then drew up a management plan,
focused on wildlife habitat and overall good stewardship.
Initial aims were to improve the quality of the forest
for income and wildlife over the long term, Peter says:
"We wanted larger trees and a healthy forest but knew it
would take years to accomplish these goals."
Peter created a new access road, and he spent every
day of the next three years - with occasional help from

Winter 2019 * WOODLAND 27



Woodland - Winter 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Woodland - Winter 2019

OVERSTORY
FORESTS AND FAMILIES
FOREST INTERACTIONS Seedlings
2019 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year
Giving Back for the Forests of Tomorrow
Policies And Partnerships Go Hand In Hand For Strong Forests
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Woodland - Winter 2019 - Intro
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover1
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover2
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 3
Woodland - Winter 2019 - OVERSTORY
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 5
Woodland - Winter 2019 - FORESTS AND FAMILIES
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 7
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 8
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 9
Woodland - Winter 2019 - FOREST INTERACTIONS Seedlings
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 11
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 12
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 13
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 14
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 15
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 16
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 17
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 18
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 19
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 2019 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 21
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 22
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 23
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 24
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 25
Woodland - Winter 2019 - Giving Back for the Forests of Tomorrow
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 27
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 28
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 29
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 30
Woodland - Winter 2019 - Policies And Partnerships Go Hand In Hand For Strong Forests
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 32
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 33
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 34
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 35
Woodland - Winter 2019 - TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 37
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 38
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover3
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover4
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