Demonstration and Education at the Hinesburg Town Forest
Take a Self-Guided Tour Through an Ecologically-Managed Forest
by Ethan Tapper, Chittenden County Forester The Hinesburg Town Forest Committee and the Chittenden County Forester invite the public to visit the Hinesburg Town Forest to learn more about responsible forest management. From 2018-2020, an innovative forest management project at the Hinesburg Town Forest (HTF) was completed, using a type of forest management called “ecological forestry.” Through this project, the HTF sought to demonstrate a thoughtful approach to the stewardship of Vermont’s forests, simultaneously managing for wildlife, biodiversity, climate resilience, carbon sequestration and storage, local, renewable resources and more.
A major goal of this project was also to showcase responsible forest management to the public in an open, transparent and inclusive way. Over the two winters that the project was active, 19 public events were held, attended by more than 500 people. The project reached still more Vermonters through articles and appearances on local television and radio programs. For more information about this innovative outreach project, check out a “story map” about the project, here: https://arcg.is/09zfC1
To continue educating the public on this project into the future, a self-guided tour has been created, consisting of 8 “stops,” each marked by interpretive signage created by the Chittenden County Forester in partnership with students from the University of Vermont and the Hinesburg Town Forest Committee and funded by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s Habitat Stamp program. Each sign contains information on different aspects of the project, linking to educational resources and videos with QR Codes, with the goal being to give the public the tools to understand what happened and why it happened.
To take the virtual tour, visit the HTF’s trailhead at the end of Economou Road in Huntington. A sign by the trailhead kiosk will guide you through the download of the free Avenza Maps app and a map that will allow you to navigate to each stop on the tour using your smartphone.
The public are also invited to visit a forest management project that has yet to be completed at the HTF. This project will occur over two winters from 2021-2023, from the HTF’s trailhead on Hayden Hill Road East in Hinesburg. Signage at the Hayden Hill East trailhead will provide the means to download the Avenza Maps app and navigate through the area to be managed in 2021-22, see the trees marked to be cut. The Chittenden County Forester and the Hinesburg Town Forest Committee welcome your questions, comments and feedback on this project.