Woods Without Gile owners named 2022 NH Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year
The N.H. Tree Farm Program has announced that Ann and Marc Davis have been named New Hampshire’s 2022 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year.
Straddling Springfield and Wilmot, the Davises’ 500-acre tree farm, Woods Without Gile, is a working forest that implements the four pillars of the Tree Farm program: wood, water, wildlife and recreation.
“When we purchased the property in 2002, the forest was dense and had been severely damaged by the 1998 ice storm,” said Ann Davis. “Working with Tim Wallace, a licensed New Hampshire forester, we’ve had four timber harvests that have focused on extricating some of the damaged hardwood, which has allowed existing conifers to regenerate and flourish.”
“One objective we’ve had is to expand habitat diversity for wildlife, including deer, moose and birds,” said Marc Davis. “To accomplish this, we’ve planted trees and fruity shrubs, inventoried snags and downed woody materials that provide food and shelter for a variety of animals and birds, and both implemented and stumped patch cuts that have created a meadow as well as foraging sites for beaver.”
Woods Without Gile’s wetlands include a more than five-acre beaver pond and associated wetlands, two streams with several beaver dams, a sphagnum moss bog, vernal pools, an upland red maple swamp, and both intermittent and year-round streams.
The Davises keep Woods Without Gile open to the public for cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, hunting, horseback riding, snow shoeing and other non-motorized and non-wheeled recreation. To help facilitate these activities while keeping the forest healthy, the Davises established eight miles of trails and installed permanent bridges over stream crossings.
Proceeds from timber harvests on the property have helped establish the trails, pay property taxes, purchase skidder bridges, install gates and make other improvements.
As is required for all certified tree farms, a written forest management plan for Woods Without Gile is in place and is updated regularly.
With a long-range goal of ensuring that their Tree Farm remains a working forest in perpetuity, the Davises have established a conservation easement for it that is held by Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust. They purchased their property in part because it abuts another protected parcel, the 6,725-acre John F. Gile Memorial State Forest, which is owned and managed by the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands.
The Davises learned about managing their woodlot by attending multiple educational workshops, many of which were organized by UNH Cooperative Extension. They are also long-time members of the N.H. Timberland Owners Association; Ann Davis served on the board from 2005 to 2013 and was board president from 2010 to 2012.
“The dedication Ann and Marc have shown in making sure Woods Without Gile is a model Tree Farm is inspiring,” said Greg Jordan, chairman of N.H. Tree Farm. “Their thoughtfulness over two decades as they worked to achieve their goals exemplifies the Tree Farm program spirit.”
N.H. Tree Farm reports that there are 1,450 certified tree farms, totaling 500,000 acres, involved in the program statewide.
The New Hampshire Tree Farm Program is co-sponsored by the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands, the Granite State Division of the Society of American Foresters, the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests, the N.H. Timberland Owners Association and UNH Cooperative Extension. It is based on the American Tree Farm System and is operated by volunteers through the New Hampshire Tree Farm Executive Committee.
For more details about the New Hampshire Tree Farm Program, visit nhtreefarm.org.
Part of the N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the Division of Forests and Lands protects and promotes the value provided by trees, forests and natural communities. For more information, visit nh.gov/nhdfl or call 603-271-2214.