Sewall Woods Preserve Demonstration Forest

During spring 2017, KELT is planning a timber harvest at Sewall Woods Preserve as part of a larger demonstration forest project to showcase sustainable forestry practices to the public.

In donating this property to KELT, William Sewall wished that the land continue to serve as a working forest, building on his own tradition of harvesting in his woods.

The upcoming harvest will honor William Sewall’s wish while also making improvements to forest health and wildlife habitats.

Important Updates & Volunteer Opportunities

Harvesting is still underway!

The loggers are finishing up harvesting trees and focusing on taking out the cut timber. Forestry machinery is still present in the preserve.

For your safety during the harvest, the trails of Sewall Woods Preserve will be CLOSED to the public for approximately six weeks during the harvest.

Signage like those pictured below are posted at kiosks and at trails entering the preserve to alert and guide trail users.

Time to clean up the trails!

As the harvesting begins to wrap-up, KELT is in need of volunteers to help get the trails in Sewall Woods Preserve up to snuff for hikers, bikers, dog walkers, and all preserve visitors.

Want to help?

Please contact: Charlotte Thompson at cthompson@kennebecestuary.org to be added to the trail crew list and to receive updates about trail work days.

Barrie Brusila, a licensed forester from Warren, Maine, has written a forest management plan and will provide guidance to the logging team throughout the harvest.

Due to its history of use prior to KELT ownership, many areas of the forest lack tree diversity or contain crowded stands with diseased and stunted trees.

Barrie’s management plan for Sewall Woods seeks to address these issues through a marked wood selection harvest on
approximately 60 acres
, meaning all trees marked by Barrie with spray paint will be removed- about every third tree from the harvest area on average.

See the Stand Map to the right– Click HERE to view a PDF of the mapThis stand map shows the areas covered by the different forest types found at Sewall Woods Preserve (numbers) and the associated management recommendations. While stands 1 and 3 are designated for a marked wood selection harvest, other stands will not be harvested out of a desire to retain shoreline trees, avoid soil damage in wet areas, or allow stand development. Click HERE to view a timeline of this project.

The harvest will allow more light to reach the ground, spurring the growth of new forest and creating space for a greater diversity of tree and wildlife species. Patch cuts are planned on several ¼ to ½ acre zones where all trees will be removed to create shrub habitat, as well as openings for logging roads and a logging yard.

The immediate aftermath of a harvest may look messy, but the forest will rebound in a healthier state over time.

A forest scene in Whitefield after a timber harvest last year. A good representation of what we’ll see after the harvest at Sewall Woods this year.

Barrie’s plan was also crafted to reduce the impact of the harvest on soils and water as much as possible. Wetlands and steep hillsides will be avoided to prevent erosion. She will work with two loggers, Gavin Mclain and Kyle Overlock, who are known for following environmentally-sound practices, and who use a “cut-to-length” method that is designed to minimize ground disturbance.

Photo by Amanda Mahaffey

KELT sees large educational potential in this project. Join us for public walks scheduled during the harvest with Barrie, the loggers, and KELT staff to learn more. Details above!

The trails at Sewall Woods will be closed for safety considerations for up to 6 weeks as the loggers work, but on-site tours will be planned for the public during and following the harvest to spread knowledge about the process and benefits of forest management. Educational signage will also be installed along the trails to explain the resulting long-term changes to the forest.

KELT hopes that this harvest will not only benefit the woodlands and wildlife of the preserve, but will also provide a unique experience for its many users, encouraging the spread of sound forest stewardship practices throughout our region.

Click here for a neat infographic from our friends at New England Forestry Foundation…It shows the anatomy of a timber harvest!

KELT welcomes your questions about the project– contact us at 207-442-8400, or email the Stewardship Coordinator at cbrunault@kennebecestuary.org.

 

Visit the Sewall Woods Preserve page by clicking HERE.