A Forest Nurturing Wildlife and People

State Forest Project

In 26,000-acre Groton State Forest, foresters carry out timber harvests on a renewable, ever-growing stock of hardwood and softwood trees. Logging provides jobs and yields wood products that boost local and regional economies.

A Healthy Forest has Variety

“Variety is the foundation of a healthy forest,” say stewardship forester Lou Bushey with Vermont’s  Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, “At Groton, one of our goals is to protect and enhance native biodiversity. We promote a variety of types and ages of trees used by a broad range of wildlife, and we meet this goal through forestry practices that pay their own way.”

Forester Lou Bushey checks tree regeneration following timber harvest
Charles Fergus
Forester Lou Bushey checks on young trees growing back after a timber harvest.

Different tracts are designated as management areas for American woodcock, snowshoe hare, and ruffed grouse. There, timber harvests give rise to woodland stands of differing ages and tree species that also provide food and cover for white-tailed deer, black bear, wild turkeys, and songbirds. (The majority of Groton State Forest is kept in a more-mature state, providing habitat for animals that need older woods.)

Strip and Patch Cuts

In the 382-acre Woodcock Management Area, foresters began making strip cuts and patch cuts in 1984. Many of the cuts have grown back as dense stands of paper and yellow birch, sugar and red maple, aspen, and black cherry – young forest where woodcock nest and raise their young, and valuable hardwood trees of the future.

Workers periodically mow a 4-acre gravel pit area to maintain an opening where woodcock roost on the ground at night during late summer before migrating south. Around 267 acres of the Woodcock Management Area are classed as young forest, with additional timber harvests scheduled to create more such habitat over the next 50 years.

More than 75,000 visitors come to Groton each year to camp, hike, hunt, and watch wildlife. They also learn about forest management through signage, brochures, and programs. Says Bushey, “We consider it a great opportunity to educate people on how to improve our valuable forests through the use of careful, science-based management.”

How to Visit

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