Frost Forest just might be the closest thing to James Hilton’s mythical valley of Shangri-La that I have come across in my travels throughout the Upper Valley. The property boundaries just so happen to encompass (almost) the entire watershed that feeds the wetland complex which lies at the heart of the property.
Actually, that convergence of the wetland boundary with the property boundary did not happen accidentally. Ehrhard Frost had a vision for this place, and it included the whole watershed. You see, Ehrhard is a certified ecoforester by trade, and this place is sort of his “experimental forest”, if you will. When he works out his plans for managing the forest, which in some instances has taken over a decade, he works very hard to make sure that his timber harvest has the least amount of impact possible on the watershed. He lays out his woods roads so that they cross a drainage only once, and not at all if possible. In many cases the work that he puts into his woods roads improves the water quality, by enlarging undersized culverts, or freeing up water flow which has been blocked by previous timber harvests in ages past.
I was lucky enough to walk in the woods with Ehrhard and members of the Thetford Conservation Commission over this last winter. We went out to learn about how he and Lawrence Hibbard, his logger, work together to lay out the roads and plan a harvest in advance of some scheduled work at the UVLT-conserved, Town of Thetford-owned Hughes Forest. They’ve been working together for 25 years, so they must be doing something right!
So, think of all that as the backdrop for our walk on May 18th when Ehrhard will guide us around his very own 287 acre Shangri-La. We’ll learn a bit about forestry practices along the way, and see what harvested areas look like after 1 year, 5 years, and more. We’ll also look for spring wildflowers, birds, and any other clues we can find about what other plants and animals might live at Frost Forest. In the years Ehrhard has owned this place, his “life list” of birds encountered on the property includes over 100 species which is a testament to the diversity of this wonderful working forest! We hope you’ll join us.
Jason Berard, Stewardship Coordinator