Baldy Mountain Forest is a well-stocked, conserved property offering a seasonal camp allowance, hunting lease income, and adjacency to the Appalachian Trail. The property is in Tyringham, a small town in the Berkshire foothills of western Massachusetts about five miles south of Interstate 90. Pittsfield, the nearest major town, is about 20 miles to the northwest, while Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is about 10 miles to the east.
The forest consists of two non-contiguous parcels fronting the town-maintained Webster Road. The northern parcel has nearly a half mile of frontage and is nearly flat with a gentle westerly slope that forms the headwaters of Webster Brook. The southern parcel has about a third of a mile of road frontage where the terrain is flat. From here, the land gradually slopes upward to a small “table” before the terrain tips steeply to the southeast off the parcel. Across both parcels, the soils appear very stony, conducive to growing good oak and pine. Beaver activity has saturated soils in the northern parcel and created two small wetlands, but the population can be managed to minimize impacts to tree growth.
The forest supports a pine/hardwood species mix. White pine, a small red pine plantation, and hemlock combine to comprise 60% of the total volume by species. Red maple, black cherry and red oak combine to make up 32%. Sawtimber quality is good to above average with ample “acceptable growing stock” in most stands. In a preemptive response to prevent mortality from emerald ash borer, a harvest was conducted in 2014. The prescription focused primarily on ash 14” diameter and larger; therefore, there is still white ash of smaller sizes on the forest that will, hopefully, escape the insect damage as it moves through the region. The gentle terrain, well-drained soils, and general accessibility of the forest allows abundant options to conduct small, cost-effective, thinning operations throughout the year.
The New England Forestry Foundation holds a “working forest” conservation restriction on the property. In addition to the maintenance or enhancement of wildlife habitat and conservation values, the easement supports “economically responsible silvicultural management.” The landowner maintains the right to post their land and control public access, although only non-motorized forms of recreation are allowed. The easement also allows the landowner to construct a 500 square foot camp.