By Brett Yates
Next summer, town officials in Chittenden expect to oversee the logging of 253 acres of municipally owned forest.
On Monday, the Chittenden Select Board signed a permit application for the use of a United States Forest Service (USFS) road to facilitate the harvest of the Michigan Brook and Rutland Grammar School woodlots. A failure to negotiate access through USFS lands thwarted a previous attempt to log the town forest nearly two decades ago.
Last year, however, the Green Mountain National Forest’s Telephone Gap Integrated Resource Project – still under review – indicated a possible federal change of attitude toward public lands in the area by proposing a massive clearcutting in nine central Vermont towns, including Chittenden. That development, in combination with rising timber prices, caught the attention of Chittenden’s Bob Baird, who, though he would step down from the Select Board this March, has continued to spearhead the town’s plan to turn its woodlots into generators of municipal revenue.
The Michigan Brook and Rutland Grammar School woodlots comprise nearly half of the Chittenden Town Forest. Another 312 acres lie within the Lead Mine and Mount Carmel woodlots.