Resource Inventory and Management Plan
Management History:Various forest management activities have occurred on the Chandler Reservation since its inception in 1919. Part of the management included acquisition of abutting parcels of land, usually for tax delinquency, as recently as 1998. This has resulted in nearly doubling the acreage of the Reservation from its original 800 acres to almost 1,500 acres currently.
Oversight of forest management has been through the Chandler Reservation Committee, established in 1928, a board whose members are elected to their positions.
In the 1930's, the Civilian Conservation Corps was involved in creating several plantations as well as establishing some of the trails in use today. Also during the 1930's, pulpwood was "harvested in great quantities" to serve Warner's chemical plant.
Other logging has occurred over the decades; evidence of this in the form of stumps is readily apparent in most areas of the Reservation. These stumps date back to the late 1910's and up to the late 1990's. [Of note, a remote sawmill located on what is known as "Harry's Mink" was used to create lumber c. 1917, prior to the creation of the Chandler Reservation. A wooden chute was purportedly used to transport sawn lumber down the hill to a more accessible location. Evidence of slabs from the operation is still evident and was found during the management cruise performed in 1999.] There is evidence of probable salvage of wood damaged/destroyed by the 1938 hurricane.
The New England Forestry Foundation was involved with managing the Reservation in the late 1940's into the 1950's, charged with developing a management plan to address timber growth, watershed improvement, and creating recreational opportunities.
In the 1970's, County Forester John Conde assisted the Committee with management decisions affecting the Reservation.
During the more recent 1980's and 1990's, timber harvests have focused on retaining the better quality trees and improving the average value of the timber. The State of New Hampshire performed a cruise and produced a written management plan in 1980, detailing 39 stands as well as volumes and management recommendations for each. A primary goal for the 1999 ice storm damage assessment was to update the information contained in the 1980 plan. Also, implementation of wildlife specific management activities has been accomplished, notably the successful aspen clearcut created in 1992. Consulting forester Steve Lord has been actively involved in managing the Reservation for the past 15 years.
In 1992, the Chandler Reservation became the third Town Forest in Merrimack County to be recognized as a Tree Farm.
Management Objectives:This unique Town property is managed to satisfy many differing goals, values and ideas. Of primary interest is offering recreational opportunities to the public in the form of hiking trails, a self-guided woods tour, hunting, and snowmobile access and wildlife observation. These activities are enhanced or made possible through funds generated by the sale of timber products during forest management operations. For this reason, forest management is a key objective.
Forest Stand General Descriptions:See Timber Stand Description and Timber Inventory Summary tables for stand-specific information.
i. Timber: See Timber Stand Description table for specific information. Overall, the goal is to seek to improve the value and health of each area of the reservation when active forest management takes place. Current sound forestry practices are encouraged, as are modern harvesting techniques and sound cutting practices. Best Management Practices should be used throughout timber sale areas.
ii. Wildlife: Benefits to many wildlife species exist because of the large size of this undeveloped property. There are many stands of hemlock, oak and beech, as well as many den/cavity trees. As a result, there are some wildlife management opportunities available here that are not possible on smaller properties. One objective could be to increase the acreage of regeneration and early successional stand types, as these are beneficial to many species, yet there are very few acres of Reservation property that are classified as these types. Creating these types can be accomplished by creating modest sized patch cuts within harvest areas during future forest management activities. Many of the recommendations and suggested wildlife management strategies were suggested in a plan created by John Kanter, Wildlife Management Specialist.
Other wildlife management tools involve leaving large cavity and mast producing trees within harvest zones, favoring hardwood sprout growth for browse, and maintaining dense hemlock canopies and understories for important deer winter habitat. The designated "leave" areas are important habitat opportunities for wildlife that depends on dead, dying and decaying trees. These areas will have more examples of these trees than areas of the property under long term active forest management.
The overall impact of the ice storm on wildlife habitat has been positive. The storm damage has created more ground cover in the form of broken tops and branches, somewhat better browse opportunities with increased sunlight from reduced canopy density, and a higher per acre number of snags and potential den/cavity trees.
iii. Soil: The vast majority of the soils covering the Reservation are Hermon extremely stony sandy loams or Canaan-Hermon extremely rocky sandy loams. The most notable features of these soils are the abundance of stones on the surface, droughty nature, and steep slopes. The Hermon soils are relatively deep to bedrock, while the Canaan-Hermon soils are shallow to bedrock with many ledge outcrops. Both soils are Site Class II for white pine, sugar maple, spruce, red oak, birch and hemlock. In general, hardwoods do not out compete softwoods in these soils. These soils have few equipment limitations pertaining to forestry, other than the steep slopes and ledge outcrops creating inaccessible areas.
iv. Water Quality and Wetlands: The Chandler Reservation has many year-round and seasonal streams. There are also many wetlands, and some vernal pools. The wetlands and vernal pools can be protected using sound harvesting techniques and forestry practices. The wetlands should not be disturbed, and any tree removals should be limited to periods when the ground is either frozen or extremely dry. This will prevent soil compaction, rutting, and siltation. Harvesting near wetlands should seek to "feather" the transition between cut and uncut (the wetland) areas, rather than having an abrupt no-cut buffer line. This practice provides better habitat opportunities for a broader range of species and plant communities.
Unlike wetlands during optimal conditions, no cutting should occur within vernal pools. The buffer surrounding a vernal pool should be treated the same as a wetland buffer, creating a transition between treated and untreated (vernal pool) areas.
Other water quality protection measures include using appropriate stream crossing techniques during harvesting. These are described as Best Management Practices (BMP's), and the State has a handbook listing them.
v. Recreation Resources: One of the most important aspects of the Chandler Reservation is the opportunity for various recreation activities. There is a long network of hiking trails, some of which can be used by snowmobiles during the winter. These trails are maintained by the Committee through brush cutting and trail marking and footbridges have been provided in some areas. The Committee is also responsible for new trail establishment, possibly restoring the flag tower, and mowing the ski-tow area and the Osgood Road.
For the more adventurous, the myriad skid trails are an opportunity to see a larger portion of the Reservation. For those interested in hunting, the varied habitats provide for many game species, including deer, moose, turkey, woodcock, and grouse.
The damage caused by the ice storm necessitated a lot of cleanup to the trail network in the form of downed wood removal, as many of the trails were rendered impassable. Many hours were spent with chainsaws to clear each of the trails. After the cleanup, all the trails were marked with paint and new signage was added to aid hikers in following them.
There is also a new trail being established from the "Hippie House" on Bean Road. The location has been laid out, and it will be brushed and painted before summer 2000.
Finally, a new loop trail has been proposed to wind through the property on the east side of Bean Road. This trail would have some interesting features to demonstrate, including a vernal pool, the aspen clearcut, and the stand of very large white pine.
vi. Cultural Features: One of the most obvious features is the stone walls throughout the Reservation. These walls were used to retain livestock (usually sheep) in their pastures. Other walls were created as ownership boundaries, or became boundaries over time. Some walls outlined town roads or livestock runways. In all, there are thousands of linear feet of stone walls in the Reservation, in addition to those that form most of the boundary.
There are other features as well. Several foundations are within the property, along with some wells associated with those former buildings. There are a few dams and stone impoundments still evident. Old farm roads and logging trails, as well as the more recent truck roads and skid trails, hint at the past agricultural activities and tell of the present land uses. There is still evidence of a sawmill located high in the Minks, as mentioned earlier. The ski tow attests to a time when Bostonians came to Warner by train to enjoy winter activities.
There is a small cemetery near Bean Road. It is composed of one headstone. The isolated location was chosen because the deceased had had smallpox.
Finally, there is the tower atop Chandler Mink that once was quite visible from town and displayed a flag. Today, it has collapsed and the stone abutments are crumbling, but their purpose is still evident.
vii. Forest Protection: Forest protection measures can be integrated to protect many different resources. Soil erosion on roads and skid trails can be prevented by using water bars. These also prevent siltation of streams by diverting water flows into the forest instead of directly into a stream. The road network that exists will allow modest access for some fire suppression, although the majority of the property is located far from vehicle accessible areas. Active forest management currently employed allows for up close observation of forest conditions, and can aid in locating areas needing salvage caused by disease, insects, or other widespread damage.
viii. Threatened/Endangered Species and Unique Natural Communities: No threatened or endangered species have been noted on the property, but there are some unique habitats and communities. Management should seek to continue to allow these habitats to exist and be part of the reservation, and can be actively managed for where appropriate. The aspen clearcut habitat is on such example. Another unique area is the large hemlock dominated "leave" parcel adjacent to Bean Road.
Boundary Maintenance: The boundary lines were surveyed and blazed c.1980. They were repainted in 1990, and the process was started again in 1999. It is expected that the lines will be repainted approximately every ten years. The orange painted lines are readily visible.
Ice Storm Assessment: The premise of the timber cruise performed in 1999 was to evaluate the entire Reservation for ice storm related damage and current conditions. During the cruise, each inventory "point" location was categorized by how much ice damage existed in the surrounding forest: none, low, moderate, or heavy. Most of the low elevation areas had no ice damage. Moderate to heavy ice damage occurred at higher elevations, especially where thinning operations had taken place over the previous 15 years. Other damaged areas were stands made up almost entirely of early successional species. Many of the ice-damaged areas will be salvaged or have already been subjected to salvage operations. There are some areas of heavy ice damage that will not be salvaged. This is because the damaged trees are not worth enough money to pay for removal, are too remote, or are in places designated as "leave" areas. A brief description of the ice damage associated with each stand is given in the Timber Stand Description tables. The stand locations can be found on the map.
Although there was considerable damage to areas of the Reservation, most of the damage was limited to lower timber valued stands or stands with difficult accessibility. Therefore, anticipated upcoming timber sales will focus on salvage in ice damaged stands with higher timber values and better access. Harvested trees will include those which were physically damaged by the ice storm as well as those trees that will be adversely affected because of changes to the stand structure and canopy closure, where the adverse effect is loss in tree value, not death to the selected tree.
- Finish salvage cuts
- Maintain current trail system
- Get consensus on new trail loop on east side of Bean Road
- Make decision on reconstruction of flag tower
- Continue with scheduled harvesting activity
Ice Storm Damage Assessment
The 1,500 acre Town-owned Chandler Reservation property was significantly affected by the ice storm of January 1998
Funding for an assessment of damage to this property was obtained through the New Hampshire Ice Storm Community Forestry Grants program. This federal cost-share program reimbursed 80% of the Town's expenses.
Field work was completed in the fall of 1999 and spring of 2000 by Steven I. Lord, forester of Peterborough, NH and Tim A. Wallace, forester of Wilmot, NH under the direction of the Warner Board of Selectmen and the Chandler Reservation Committee.
Activities Completed for the Town of Warner Under the New Hampshire Ice Storm Community Forestry Grant Program:
- Town-wide fuel load assessment plan (see separate report)
- Resource inventory on the Chandler Reservation
- Updated management plan for the Chandler Reservation
- New property resource maps
- Ice storm debris trail cleanup
- Update trail maps and trail signs
- Public workshop about the Chandler Reservation
- Purchase of chainsaw and related safety equipment; to be kept available for debris clearance
Timber Inventory Methods:
The timber inventory conducted on the Chandler Reservation utilized standard point sampling techniques. A scaled cruise grid of 450' x 500' was laid onto a map of the property to determine where sample points would be located. This created over 300 potential sample point locations, which occurred at the intersections of the grid lines. On the ground locations were determined using the cruise maps, compass, and string chain. Because the topography is not flat, and the cruise map is flat, some potential points were not used, as they ended up being located off of the Chandler Reservation property. This resulted in 285 actual sample point locations.
At each sample plot, a BAF 10 wedge prism was used to determine which trees were to be included in the inventory. DBH, product, and height were determined for every tree tallied. Notes were also taken describing the relative amount of ice damage and down woody debris in the area surrounding each sample point location. Other observations, such as slope, operability concerns and overall site quality were also recorded for each point.