Woodbury: making sure the community supports the conservation commission’s ideas for managing the town forest and wetland

Background and Overview

The town of Woodbury (population 906) considered two properties, the Woodbury Town Forest and the Woodbury Town Wetland, in the development of their town forest recreation plan. The properties are managed by the Woodbury Conservation Commission, with some oversight from the town Select Board. <insert map showing both properties>

The Woodbury Town Forest is a 65.7-acre parcel near the center of town. It has belonged to the town since the 1950s and it has not been in active forest management since coming under town ownership. In 1998, the Select Board adopted a resolution (which is still the guiding management principal for the forest) supporting the conservation of the forest and prohibiting its despoliation. There is currently no other management plan for the forest. The forest has many interesting cultural and ecological features, including a cellar hole, mature hardwood forests, vernal pools, and visible bedrock formations. Charismatic megafauna (such as bears and moose) are known to frequent the forest. It is also home to many reptiles and small mammals. The forest gets a little use from hunters and snowmobilers, but is otherwise underutilized because it lacks public parking, trailhead kiosks, and maintained trails -- few residents are even aware it exists. <insert image of forest>

The Town Wetland is adjacent to the elementary school. The Town and the school each own a portion of the property. The Wetland itself is a shallow body of water that the school uses for canoeing and as an outdoor learning lab. There are a few trails around the wetland area. The school’s “friends organization” is currently working on a designated gathering/observation space and classroom near the wetland and has recently secured grant funding to move that project forward. The school and town are planning for the area collaboratively. <insert image of wetland>

Needs & Assessment

The following issues and needs were identified through the public engagement process to be addressed in this planning process.

1. Small town with limited resources and local businesses

2. No existing parking, signage, or trail system

3. Unmanaged forest (that hasn’t been tended to in over 60 years)

4. Town Wetlands sees significant use, but there’s no place to gather classes

5. Town forest and wetland on opposite sides of Route 14

6. Need resources in order to build trials

7. Many seasonal camps and second homes in town

The word trees below demonstrate what the community answered when they were asked what word or phrase best describes their existing or desired future experience with the town forest – the size of the word corresponds to the number of times it appeared in the responses.

<input vision trees>


As a result of the planning process, the town generated a robust action plan matrix. Working with the Town Planning Commission, the steering committee selected several steps that seemed to achieve the greatest result with a manageable amount of effort. Those steps include: <each list item will link to the one-pager>

Parking lot and access trail

Wetland Outdoor Education Facilities

Develop a trail system


Educational programming

Trail maps

Access paths and connections

Ideas Worth Sharing

Paul Council, Chair of the Conservation Commission, shares, “Whoever is the main person should allow plenty of time for various phases of developing the plan and have lots of patience because it can take a while. It helps to have a couple of people – especially with different skill sets than yours – to support you. It takes time and patience, but it’s totally worth it.”

Final Plan:

Woodbury's Town Forest Recreation Plan


BaseContextNatural Resources

Visioning Board

Town Contact:

Paul Council