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Forest Managemement Plan

For Property at 3479 Route 31, Poultney, VT Prepared by the NRM 1001: Introduction to Natural Resources Class, Green Mountain College, Fall 2013

I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,

And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again.

That would be good both going and coming back. - Robert Frost, Birches

One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace. - Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast

This document represents a simplified version of a forest inventory and plan for the property at 3479 Route 31, Poultney, VT. The property consists of two parcels each approximately five acres in size for a total property of just under ten acres. Across this ten acres there is a mix of a few different forest types from upland red oaks to softwoods such as white pines to mixed hardwoods consisting of sugar maple, ash, black cherry, and hickory. Despite a nice mix of tree species and age classes, there is little to recommend regarding forest management. With the exception of some of the more mature oaks, there are few merchantable trees that could be managed for anything other than firewood. The eastern-most portion of the property is understocked with smaller and poorly formed species: hophornbeam, black cherry, sugar maple. The soils in that area appear to be less well-drained than other areas on the property, suggesting that this may just be a poor site to develop strong stands of timber. Invasive species such as multiflora rose, Japanese barberry, and honeysuckle are present on the site, but despite some large individual plants, the extent of the invasive plants is not severe. While the forest types are likely not the sort to produce high-quality saw timber or veneer trees, there are abundant examples of quality wildlife habitat. Indeed, stands of trees that grow on poor soils or otherwise unfavorable conditions tend to be susceptible to insect damage, but these then become high quality sites for a range of wildlife species from songbirds to small mammals including raccoons, foxes, and rabbits. There was widespread evidence of white tailed deer browse both within the forested patches and in the grassy areas. Deer are likely responsible, in part, for the poor growing conditions of the trees in the furthest eastern portion of the property. Deer will alter their diet during the year shifting from grasses, forbs, and soft mast (fruits: berries, apples, pears, etc.) in the summer and fall to hard mast (acorns, beechnuts, etc.) and browse (leaf buds of hardwood trees) during the winter and spring. Under sufficient browse pressure deer can inhibit forest regeneration as seedlings of certain tree species can be consumed at a rate that they never achieve heights above 3-4 feet. This too can alter the species composition of forest regeneration as deer will preferentially browse on some species (oaks, maples) while avoiding others (beech, pines). Fencing exclosures to keep deer away from certain sites is one option to aid in forest regeneration, but this can be costly to construct and maintain. In some cases, natural fencing can be constructed through the piling of dense limbs and tops of trees which deer would avoid walking through or over. Hunting pressure is another option but likely not realistic given the proximity of the dwellings. Short of these rather intensive options to keep deer pressure low, there is likely little that can be done on this site. There are also a number of cultural features both contemporary and existing as remnants of past land use including an old cellar hole near the southeast corner of the property. Contemporary cultural features include two occupied dwellings, outbuildings, a dug pond, a solar array, and a gazebo of sorts. The landowner also planted and maintains gardens and a small fruit orchard. The cleared areas around the dwellings and beyond represent a nice contrast to the wooded edges. Visually, these contrasts are appealing for both humans and wildlife. Having these edges is important for some species. The canopy trees in the copse just to the south of the gardens and west of the pear orchard appear to be well-formed, yet their height may soon inhibit the full potential of the solar array. The proximity of this copse to the main road may allow for some commercial value to be realized from some of those trees for saw timber.

Executive Summary

We'd like to thank Dr. Terry Bergen for offering up his property for this service learning exercise in preparing a forest management plan. These sorts of real-world opportunities are what make education most applied. John Van Hoesen was especially helpful with the production of the GIS maps as was the dedicated assistance of several NRM students with GIS experience: Tyler Lawson, Jenn Seredejko, and Cody Tedford. Special thanks to Jim Harding for his assistance in the final presentation, and his guidance to finding resources.


Casiana Arroyo Maryann Arterbridge Darian Closson Molly Elvin Shannon Green Taylor Healy Jumpei Katayama Jean Lan Bohao Liu Sara Lucas Antoine Lucic Trenton Morrison Jacob Phillips Erica Siclari Grant Southers Cheyanne Stone Kyle Walz Jacob Werkmeister Isaac Winant Ben Young


At the front of the property is the owners house. Next to the house is a large barn that has been converted into a garage where they keep their cars and various other belongings. They have two gardens directly behind their house and down a small slope is a man-made pond with a bridge. Over the bridge it is possible to see the solar panels in their open back yard. To the right of the solar panels is an enclosed patio with a hammock in it. Behind the patio are several apple-pear trees and a small bench. There are also a number of homemade bird houses surrounding the outside of the open area. On the opposite side of the field from the house is the start of the wooded area. There are several trails that wind through the back of the property along with many other marks from humans. When walking on the trails, there are several low stone walls that used to mark the edge of properties or fields. The paths eventually cross the access road that leads to the public road and another, smaller house that they owner rents out as well as an abandoned white house by the road.

Property Description

Owner Goals and Recommendations:

Remove Sumac on the property Recommendation: Chemical treatments, or mechanical removal. Herbicide. Remove Honeysuckle on the property Recommendation: Trimmings in the spring, bigger cuts in the winter. Herbicide. Remove Multiflora Rose on the property Recommendations: -Herbivore: Goats to graze the woody plants. They are not deterred by thorny vegetation; browse higher up than other types of livestock. -Chemical: Herbicide to kill the plants, cut as the rose dyes. -Mechanical: Mowing and excavating with the help of professional landscapers. Make land easy to maintain, not have to mow Recommendation: Plant clover on areas not wishing to be mowed. Make land inviting to animals, not deer. Remove deer, prevent from garden being eaten. Recommendation: Plant marigolds in garden to ward off herbivores. Build fence around garden. Have an invis ible fence if electricity use is available to the distance from the home. Remove one maple that blocks the winter sun Recommendation: Hire outside contractors to remove the tree, leaving the stump for a table.

In order to prepare a management plan for Dr. Terry Bergen, one needs to understand the historical relationship that the land has developed with its inhabitants over time, whether human, vegetal or animal. From Native Americans to its first European settlers in 1609, the New England region, along with its harsh climates witnessed numerous forms of migration and land use. As the nomadic habits of Abenaki people left place to western battles over the land of Vermont, the region endured a series of uses with purpose to develop its economic profitability. From the late 1760s, the region in and around Poultney came to be among the first settled areas through its advantageous southern valley access. While it is presumed that Dr. Bergens particular parcel of land began as a cleared patch of forest and was followed by a sheep farm as the rest of Vermont did over time, it is known to have hosted a dairy farm in its recent past. The combination of the various stone walls within the area and the landowners testimony confirms the recent history of the property.

Historical Considerations of the Land

The property of 3479 RT 31, located in Poultney VT has acreage strewn with walking trails and multiple forest stands. A hand drawn map shows the rough locations of all trails, and manmade features such as rock walls. The property lies to the east side of RT 31, starting with a quaint house and garage. Further along is a yard and then woods. A path, nearest the garage runs to the east bringing you into the woods of the property. A dilapidated barbed wire fence runs along this path for a short time. The east-running trail turns toward the south, which will lead you to a dirt road. If you do not continue south there is always the option of turning eastwardly after a few meters of continuing along the south-facing trail. This trail eventually turns back south leading to the same dirt road, just a bit higher up. An aerial view of the trail would show a near rectangular shape of trail, with the southern most part of the rectangle being the dirt road. This said dirt road, is unmarked and leads to RT 31, as well as a property further back, heading away from RT 31. The manmade features of this property arent apparent besides the cut and maintained trails. Rock walls can be seen, but many eventually disappear into the woods or dirt. The paths are roughly 3 meters in width and said rock walls border most. In one corner of the trail, a cellar hole can be spotted, or at least the remnants of one.

Manmade elements

Forest Types and Inventory: The property hosts four small, but distinct forest types. These are labeled as Forest Stand 1: Northern Hardwoods, Forest Stand 2: Upland Oaks, Forest Stand 3: Softwood Pines, and Forest Stand 4: Mixed Hardwood/Softwood. A forest stand is characterized by the combination of species and age classes. Boundaries between stands are sometimes approximate and can evolve over time. To the extent that there are four different stands on a relatively small parcel suggests that there has been a fair bit of human-induced change in the past (land clearing, logging, etc.) Briefly described below are the characteristics of each of the four stands. Forest Stand 1: Northern Hardwoods The term hardwoods refers to deciduous tree species (e.g., oaks, maples, ash, beech, etc.), or those tree species that drop their leaves seasonally in the autumn. Our latitude prescribes that certain collections of trees occur often together as cohorts in a stand. A typical northern hardwood stand will have some combination of beech, birch, and maple. While each of these species is present in the northern hardwood stand, so too can be found black cherry, hickory, eastern hophornbeam, and green ash. There is little merchantable timber value in these areas, many trees are small or poorly formed. Thinning in some places could improve the quality of residual stock trees, but it is suspected that the overall quality of the site, in terms of soils, is not conducive to high productivity. The one exception to this may be the copse of trees to the west of the pear orchard where some trees show good form and would have good access to sun if certain canopy trees were removed. Forest Stand 2: Upland Oaks There is a small stand consisting mainly of oaks towards the northeastern portion of the property. These red oaks are found on a small ridge which would be expected as red oaks, in particular, prefer a more well-drained soil and tend to be found higher on slopes rather than in low-lying areas. There are a number of nice sized oaks here, but forest regeneration is a concern. It appears that white-tailed deer have been browsing heavily in this stand inhibiting natural regeneration of oaks in the understory. The landowner might consider tubing existing seedlings. A Google search for tree tubes for seedlings will turn up a number of different styles and options. This is probably the most cost-effective and reasonable approach to address deer browse problems in this stand. While there are a number of merchantable quality oaks, they do not occur in volumes sufficient for commercial sale. Converting some lower-quality stems to firewood for personal use is recommended.

Forest Stand 3: Softwood Pines There are relatively few softwood trees on the property. Softwoods refers to coniferous tree species which typically consist of needle-bearing trees such as pines, spruces, and firs. This stand is dominated by several larger white pine trees. These trees, though large, are poorly formed many having suffered from predation from the white pine weevil. This native forest insect deposits eggs in the terminal bud of white pines. The larvae then consume the tissue in the terminal bud, eventually killing the bud. White pine trees easily survive this predation, but due to the death of the terminal bud, the form of the tree is severely compromised. Pines, like all softwood trees, generally have just a single main stem from which all side branches emerge. When the terminal bud is damaged or killed, then each of the newest side branches begin growing as the terminal leader resulting in trees with multiple main stems. These are often referred to as cabbage pines. There are a few recommendations to address outbreaks of the white pine weevil, but given the size of this stand and the unlikelihood of market value of trees in this stand, none would be appropriate here. Forest Stand 4: Mixed Hardwood/Softwood A mixed stand contains both deciduous and coniferous trees. Determining if a stand is mixed or not is often as much art as science. This stand is predominantly hardwood, though there are several scattered softwood trees. There is also a fair amount of softwood regeneration. These two factors combined suggest that mixedwood is an appropriate designation for this stand. The quality of both hardwoods and softwoods here is unremarkable, but there are several nice wildlife trees. Snags, dead standing trees, can be found throughout this stand and these are very valuable for many species of wildlife from songbirds to small mammals. The dominance of the hardwood species is likely a product of the softwoods simply being outcompeted for sunlight. Should the landowner wish to alter the composition more towards softwood, removing selected overstory hardwoods through girdling is one option that would also contribute to improved wildlife habitat. Girdling is the process of cutting through the bark, phloem, cambium, and some xylem tissue with a chainsaw all the way around the main stem of the tree. After a year, the tree will die yet remain standing, creating a snag.

Sample One: For the first stand on the property the predominant species was Sugar Maple occurring eight times out of the twenty one stands we collected. Other species included Red Oak, Shagbark Hickory, Basswood, Black Cherry, and Iron wood. Red Oak was tallied five times, Shagbark Hickory was tallied three times, Basswood and Black Cherry were noted twice, and Iron Wood was counted only once. This stand is a very uneven aged class ranging from saplings to mature trees. The stocking levels for this stand were unacceptable with no acceptable growing stock for any of the trees documented. Because of this there is very minimal stocking level for the area; no trees could actually be used for timber use. When measuring the diameter at breast height (Diameter at Breast Height = 4.5 feet about the ground on the uphill side of a tree), or DBH of the trees, the average came out to be 10.0095, with the maximum DBH being 15.6 and the minimum being 4.2. The average number of eight foot logs in this stand is 1.6 logs per tree. The maximum for this is 2.5 and the minimum was 0 which was a majority of the trees in the area making it poor quality. Sample Two: The second stand had very few mature trees with the most abundant species being Red Oak and White Pine. Those were both documented five times out of the sixteen trees noted in this stand. All the species documented were Red Oak, White Pine, Sugar Maple, Black Cherry, and White Oak. Sugar maple was only counted once along with Black Cherry, and White Oak was tallied four times in this stand. This stand was also unevenly aged but the majority were young trees with the DBH of less than four. There were only two trees that could be considered acceptable growing stock in this stand, those species being White Pine and Red Oak, this is because, unlike nearly all the trees in both stands, they did not have low lying branches and they grew straight. This makes the stocking level very low with the two that could be used for timber but not enough to invest in logging the area.The average DBH for this stand was 12.0294 ranging from 8 being the lowest and 20 being the largest. This area had few mature trees with undergrowth and smaller trees and shrubs in the surrounding area. The average number of eight foot logs that could be used was .718. The largest in this stand was 2.5 and the lowest being 0 which, like the first stand was the majority. Methods: There were a few different methods used in assessing the land space. We used 1/10 of an acre plots for each stand we documented and with one of our tools we measured the fixed radius plot of a stand where we would start in the plot center, measure 37 feet out, and the trees within the radius was in the plot boundary and could be documented. We measured DBH using Biltmore stick, which is a kind of ruler that measure the diameter of the tree at 4.5 feet. You hold the stick flat against the tree and observe it in a horizontal position. We had to keep an arms length away from the tree for accuracy which is about 25 inches from stick. Next, adjust the left edge of the stick to the end of the tree and measure the diameter of the tree. If the diameter of the tree exceeded the length of the stick, we used diameter tape instead. This made measuring the diameter easier because it was calibrated in units of inches and it could measure larger trees. Finding the number of 8 foot longs no tools are used. It was a basic measure of whether the tree was straight, had any scarring, or any low lying branches and how far it continued that way. There were also no tools for identifying the trees, this was our knowledge from the classroom.

Forest Types and Inventory:

Overall Assessment of the forests resources: From the data collected from the site visits and documenting the stands it is evident that his property is of poor quality. There are not many high quality resources within the property and the trees in the area are not very large or fully grown. The average DBH for the first stand is 10.00095 and 12.0294 for the second. The average number of eight foot logs in the first stand is 1.6 logs per tree and 0.7647 logs per tree in the second stand. The 10 acre property has little to no acceptable growing stock. The majority of the trees on his property have a very low DBH, a low to non-existent number of 8 foot logs, and most of the trees have low lying branches, scarring, or crooked trunks- making them unacceptable for logging. . The only means of a profit we can suggest is through tapping sugar maple trees for syrup. The types of tree species that can be found on the property are: Sugar Maple, Black Cherry, Basswood, Shagbark Hickory, Red Oak, White Oak, White Pine, and Iron Wood. All photos in the document were taken in proximity to the trails. Specific locations

First Path

of the features can be georeferenced in an accompanying digital file.

This empty nest is clear evidence of the presence birds in the forest. The species which inhabits the nest is unknown because no birds were spotted but chirping could be heard regularly. This nest was found in a site with rather small diameter stems which is a hallmark of early successional forest. Chestnut-sided warblers favor this forest type.

Fallen logs can provide both sources for food and shelter. The decaying wood will feed insects which, in turn, will serve as a food source for small animals. The cycle of smaller organisms being by larger ones will travel all the way up the food chain making areas like this hotbeds for wildlife activity. If the landowner is interested in managing for wildlife it would be important to keep features like this. Depending on the specific desires of the landowner logs from cut down trees could be placed around the property. It is important to note that variety of characteristics like this are more beneficial than uniformity when it comes to sustaining a diverse wildlife population.

Although it cannot be seen well in this photo this shot was taken at the top of a downward facing slope which means that the ground surface is rather large. If this picture would have been taken prior to leaf fall the ground in this area would have been more heavily covered with more small, green leafy plants. These are perfect browse material for wildlife and undoubtedly help sustain the large deer population of the area. Additionally, during our first visit to the property traces of deer activity were visible including tracks and feces. Due to the openness of the area this place most likely experiences high levels of wildlife traffic.

While walking the property looking for signs of wildlife chipmunks were spotted numerous times. As a matter a fact it was the most common form of wildlife spotted along the trails. The image below is that of a chipmunk sitting on a stone wall. Each chipmunk that was spotted was seen in close proximity to one of the stone walls, leading to the conclusions that these walls serve as a source of food or shelter for chipmunks and possibly other small mammals. The cracks in the wall could provide area to find food (such as insects) or store food (such as seeds and nuts). The presence of these animals also indicates the presence of some of their natural predators which include owls, hawks, foxes, and snakes.

Aside from the mowed yards, this was the most open area on the property. The open area probably makes it a highway for wildlife to travel through although the tall grass may slow some creatures down. The trees that surround the area may be used by birds of prey as a place to perch while they scope out food sources at night. If small animals are using the tall grass as cover and trying to move through the area there may also be snakes present. As the seasons change along with plant structures and compositions this area may be favored by different organisms at different times.

While walking the property it was not clear if this stream sits on the land being surveyed, regardless, this water body does impact the wildlife in the area of interest. Due to the fact animals do not have the same concept of boundaries as humans do wildlife from all over the surrounding area will come to this water source to drink and potentially hunt. A water sample was collected from this stream and analyzed. Results show that the water is clean and most likely spring fed. A simple visual observation did not show any organisms in the river but there is a high chance that microinvertebrates are present in addition to other organisms.

Several places throughout the property contain small coverts for wildlife. These coverts are critical for small mammals and ground nesting birds. A wildlife covert is a sheltered area where animals can hide, nest, cache food, or just generally seek shelter. Food and water are habitat requirements but so are sheltering areas. Maintaining collections of piled woody material can greatly assist small mammals in the rearing of young and in avoiding predation.

A dead standing tree or snag, as it is known the world of forestry, is an important wildlife habitat feature. Cavities can be created in the deadwood which can be used as shelter for birds or small animals with the ability to climb trees. If the landowner would like to manage for bird populations more research can be done to determine the best age and species composition to support specific types of birds. As the wood becomes weaker and rots the snag will be able to support a wide variety of insects.

Although this old stone wall was made by human beings it now serves as a helpful feature for wildlife survival. As previously mentioned all chipmunk siting were near the rock wall that are scattered around the property. There is a high chance that if chimpunks are using this physical feature to aid in their survival that other creates are doing the same thing. The specific locations of all the rock walls are placed on a map that can be found within this document.
If this photo would have been taken earlier in the year it would be obvious that these are fruit trees, pear to be exact. These sweet fruits will serve as a source of food for much of the wildlife that roams these woods. Bees will also frequent this area as the trees begin to flower. Depending on the preferences of the land owner a fence could be put up around this area in order to prevent wildlife from eating the pears.

Second Path:

When looking at a forest is important to notice the details of each individual part instead of just one whole. Two separate paths were taken and met in the middle of the property. The first thing seen along the path is a roadside snag. As seen below the snag is an excellent perch for any predatory birds to lie and wait for its prey to come along.

The importance of a snag cannot be determined by its sheer size but more importantly by the location that is found in. In the case of this snag, being next to a road is an excellent place for any predatory bird to use. This next purpose can be anything from a perch all the way to being a grocery store for a woodpecker.

There were many rotting logs and other brush piles on the property that provided ample habitat for the small lifeforms. In the case of the structure of materials simply named insect residence hall it is obvious the importance of its role. The role of any rotting log is both shelter and food for the decomposers of the woods. Having a healthy population of decomposers in the woods is vital especially when fall comes around and you have a desperate need for the leaves to break down. But the added bonus of having a falling tree in the middle of the woods is the aesthetic value.

This rootball is the beginning of a textured forest floor environment known as pit and mound or alternatively pillow and cradle. When a tree is uprooted due to wind or gravity the emerging roots excavate a good bit of the soil, leaving a hole behind--this is the pit or cradle. The resulting rootball, with the excavated soil will settle into the forest floor adjacent to the hole creating the mound or pillow. In concert these pits and mounds are very typical of our northern forests and provide micro-environments for small pools and habitat for wildlife.

From fallen trees in the ground to hung up branches in the trees every property requires a few of both to serve as shelter for its creatures. In the photo above, lies a half-fallen tree providing shelter above the forest forest floor. Just by looking at it the mind can be fooled into thinking it was a man-made structure if you do not look carefully. While the birds and the insects are happy with rotting logs and hung up tree branches, the scavengers are more interested in environments like the opportunist paradise as seen to the right.

These small critters are often seen as the food source most important for many species of songbirds. Welldrained soils, decaying organic matter, and varying microclimates are important to maintaining a diverse collection of invertebrate insect life.

Arthropods including insects, spiders, and mites are found in all forest lands. The extent and the degree to which they are found varies based on a number of environmental and climatic factors.

Fruits and flowers benefit both insects and wildlife. Clearly the pears and berries growing throughout the property are sought-after by creatures not just of the two-legged variety. Songbirds, small and large mammals will exploit human maintained fruit trees, bushes, and gardens.

Flowers, both ornamental and naturally occurring will attract insect and avian pollinators. Honeybee cultivation could be an opportunity on the site given the nice southerly exposure and the thermal wind break of the trees to the north and east of the mowed areas.

The second water source on the property lies in an unnatural watering hole next to the house also known as the pond. The pond while aesthetically pleasing is probably another reason why animals come to the house. The pond is an easy access source of water with the convenience of having a garden full of edible plants adjacent to it.

From observation of the property there are two direct water sources for wildlife to utilize the first is a natural stream that flows along the border of the property. A water test showed that the stream contains no excess of pollutants showing that it would support a healthy ecosystem. The creatures that were immediately noticed along its banks were frogs, water striders and within its waters the larval form of salamanders. The presence of amphibians also confirms the results from the water test because any abnormalities of pollutants in the water would affect these creatures, suggesting that this is a spring fed stream, and a definite asset to the property whether it be on the property or adjacent to it.

Forestry Survey Map


Survey Areas Boundaries

Property of Dr. Terry Bergen 3479 VT Route 31 Poultney, VT 05764

Projection: Transverse_Mercator NAD_1983_StatePlane_Vermont_FIPS_4400

Forest Stands
Property of Dr. Terry Bergen 3479 VT Route 31 Poultney, VT 05764

Northern Hardwoods Upland Oaks Softwood Pines Mixed Hardwood/Softwood

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Prepared by Shannon Green Data Collected by Cheyanne Stone, Erica Siclari, Jumpei Katayama, and Bohao Liu

Plot 2

Plot 1

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Projection: Transverse_Mercator NAD_1983_StatePlane_Vermont_FIPS_4400

Prepared by: Shannon Green Data collected by: James Harding

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High Road

Property of Dr. Terry Bergen 3479 VT Route 31 Poultney, VT 05764

Projection: Transverse_Mercator NAD_1983_StatePlane_Vermont_FIPS_4400


ute 31

Habitat Map
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Wildlife Shelter Food

Land Use History

Property of Dr. Terry Bergen 3479 VT Route 31 Poultney, VT 05764

Access Road Path 1 Path 2 Path 3 Path 4

Branch Arch Stream

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Apple Pear

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Garage Bridge Wood Shed Pond

Main House Main House

Start Wall 1


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Hungup tree

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Bird House Solar Panels

Solar Panels

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Apple Pear Trees Apple Trees


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Dense Tree Fall Dense Grass Area

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End Wall 2

Small White House

Small House

Second House
Second House

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Rotting log

Man Hole Start Wall 2

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0.025 0.05 Miles Projection: Transverse_Mercator NAD_1983_StatePlane_Vermont_FIPS_4400 Prepared by Shannon Green Data Collected by Isaac Winant, Benjamin Young, Antoine Lucic, Molly Elvin, Kyle Walz

Browse Area

Prepared by Shannon Green Data Collected by Maryann Arterbridge and Jacob Phillips



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