The HFF V Fraser Lands comprises of 13,981 gross acres of industrial forest land, located in the unorganized territories of Northeastern Maine. The region is well served by a wide variety of timber and fiber markets located in Northern Maine and Canada. The number and diversity of markets provide the manager numerous with numerous opportunities to leverage the timber product on the property.
|Previous Owner||Fraser Paper Inc.|
|Dominant Forest Type||60% Spruce-Fir 40% Northern Hardwood|
|Managing Consultant||Prentiss & Carlisle|
|Address||107 Court Street, P.O. Box 637 Bangor, ME – 04402-0637|
The HFF V Fraser Lands ownership is situated in the northeast region of Maine within a 35 mile radius north and east of Millinocket. The lands are located almost entirely in eastern and southern Aroostook County with single tracts in Piscataquis and Penobscot Counties.
The northern terrain is generally rolling uplands transected by numerous brooks, streams and rivers. The geology is thin glacial drift except for the alluvial drainages. The region is dominated by spruce-fir and northern hardwoods timber type associations. Base elevations range from 600’ along the drainages to 1000’ in the uplands. Several prominent hills rise above the general elevations including Sable Mountain in T4R8 WELS at 1920’ and East Branch Ridge on T7R11 WELS at 1331’ above sea level. Steep slopes and rock outcrops characteristic of these areas can be difficult to operate.
In the southern region, HFF V Fraser Lands townships are dominated by broad expanses of gently rolling terrain interspersed with broad low drainages and swampy basins. Surficial geology is characterized by glacial til and thin drift. Elevations vary little, from approximately 350’ to 600’ above sea level. This region is dominated by spruce-fir, spruce-hemlock and mixed hardwood timber type associations. The flat and even terrain allows direct access and operation. An abundance of wet soils interspersed with wetlands and streams are the most significant operational impediments.
Rivers and streams represent the most significant water features found on this ownership. Numerous brooks, streams and rivers drain parts of the property, eventually feed into either the St. John or the Penobscot watersheds.
For the better part of the last century, HFF V’s Fraser lands have been acquired and managed to source the owner’s pulp, paper and saw mills. Beginning in the 1920’s, when transportation by rail and truck had become commonplace, Penobscot Development Company purchased these and other lands to source the Old Town Pulp and Paper mill complex. In the 1960’s the lands and mills were transferred to Diamond International (who added a stud mill to the infrastructure in order to utilize the high percentage of softwood small sawlog material).
During the Diamond breakup of the late 1980’s, the now “HFF V Fraser lands” were sold in their entirety to Fraser Paper who owns pulp mills in Madawaska, ME and Edmunston, NB and sawmills in Ashland. For the next decade and a half, Nexfor/Fraser Papers operated the ownership to feed their mills. In 2005, The Forestland Group procured these lands (and other tracts) as a part of the HFF V timber investment portfolio. In 2010 a portion of the original HFF V purchase was sold to a private buyer.
The land base is 93% forested totaling approximately 123,000 acres of the gross 132,000 managed acres. The forest is cover type breakdown is estimated as follows: 5% hardwoods, 58% mixedwoods and 28% softwoods. The non-forested component is comprised predominantly of wetlands and brooks, woods roads, log landings, gravel pits and leased camps.
Most of the forest types found on the Fraser Lands fall into one of the five following major forest systems:
Lowland Conifer types = 11% of forested acres. The stands that comprise this type are found on seasonally wet, poorly drained sites along watercourses and in low-lying flats. White cedar and Black spruce are the indicator species. Common associates include Balsam fir, Red maple, Yellow birch, Brown ash and Eastern larch. These sites are typically either minimally productive due to slow growth and high mortality or marginally if at all operable. Nevertheless, these are generally commercial timberlands capable of producing merchantable-sized timber. Prior management generally avoided these types due to ground and market conditions, so the LC stands tend to be stocked to the full capacity of the site.
Spruce-fir types (SF) = 27% of forested acres. Spruce-fir stands are generally found on the contour levels just above the LC types, on moderately well drained flats, poorly drained low rolling terrain, and to a lesser degree on shallow-to-bedrock sites at upper elevations. The primary species are Red spruce and Balsam fir, with common associates including White pine, White cedar, Red maple and Yellow birch.
Mixedwood types = 36% of forested acres. Mixedwood types represent the widest range of land types on this forest. The stands that comprise these types are most typically found on low, rolling terrain – generally less well drained. The prototype stand makeup will be 40%-60% conifers – mostly Red spruce with some cedar and fir and 40%-60% hardwoods with Red maple usually the most common species followed by White and Yellow birch. On the southern towns in this ownership, the Spruce-Hemlock land-type association is prevalent. In these stands, (usually designated SW instead of SF), Eastern hemlock and Red spruce are more abundant than Red spruce, fir and pine combined. The Spruce-Hemlock association is found in both mixedwood and softwood (more than 25% softwood) types.
Hardwood types = 5% of forested acres. The “HW” designated stands here are of two distinct types: the first are stands of intolerant hardwoods like poplars and White birch (these also contain Yellow birch, Red maple and Red spruce); the second are stands of beech-red maple types. Species composition in the Beech-Red Maple types is typically comprised of Red maple, birch and beech with small amounts of Sugar maple. Red spruce is (or has been) a common component.
Tolerant Hardwood types = 21% of forested acres. These stands are a Maine (and Eastern Canadian) variant to the Northern Hardwood Ecotype. Sugar maple is the indicator, and is the most common species in these stands. Usual associates include American beech, Yellow birch and to a lesser degree Red maple, White ash, Red spruce and/or hemlock. The variant results from slightly sub-standard sites for a typical Northern Hardwood that is typical of this region. Habitat data indicates approximately 20% of the designated TH types on this forest could be considered classic Northern Hardwoods. The remainder of these types has either some mix of spruce and occasional cedar in the overstory, or has a mixedwood understory. Silviculture can perpetuate Northern Hardwoods, but the history of partial cutting on this property certainly provides opportunities for tolerant understory Red spruce to become well established.