Why Town Forests

Vermont town forests are valued public places that contribute to our health and well-being.  Explore one today!


Town Forests provide a wide array of benefits to the people of Vermont:

  • Open space for recreation
  • Healthy habitats that support hunting and fishing
  • Revenue generation from timber and other forest products
  • Clean air and water
  • Natural outdoor classrooms

Public values derived from these community assets range from environmental and ecological to economic. These values include:

Education: In many Vermont communities, town forests serve as outdoor classrooms for students both young and old; a place where model forest management can be demonstrated for private landowners.

Community Engagement and Sense of Place: Town forests serve as community gathering places; a place where residents connect with each other and the land. Engaging residents in planning and stewardship decisions fosters a deeper connection with the land, and importantly to the community as a whole.

Water Quality Protection: Historically, many of Vermont’s town forests were created to protect public drinking water supplies. Today, these properties continue to serve this important role in watershed protection.

Forest Products: Timber harvesting in town forests provide revenue for stewardship activities and/or raw materials for community projects.

Wildlife Habitat: Town forests serve as crucial habitat for wildlife, such as deer-wintering areas or breeding habitat for neo-tropical migrants, and are often included in landscape-level conservation planning.

Public Recreation Opportunities: With an increasing number of landowners posting their property as private, town forests offer residents a place to continue to enjoy outdoor recreational activities, such as hunting, walking, and mountain biking.

Economic Development: Town forests play an important role in strengthening the local economy. For example, a recent study on the Barre Town Forest found an economic benefit of $640,000 from visitor spending annually and the creation of 20 local jobs by 2015.

Learn more why town forests are important from our partners:

Learn More

Community Forests: A Community Investment Strategy is a report that describes how town forests can deliver community, economic and conservation benefits to rural communities of northern New England.