Snow storms in early November 2014 have caused timber losses on land in Maine. Whether you are considering selling acreage in Maine or are interested in land for sale in Maine, you or your forester should walk the land to inspect the property for storm damage.
Timberland in Maine is a relatively safe passive investment. If your land does have tree damage from winter storms, working with your forester, you may be able to schedule a salvage harvest to recoup some of the losses.
Not all damage is a bad thing, as some of the damaged trees are weaker diseased trees that once down will allow your dominant trees to grow faster.
A recent trip to our land in Surry Maine allowed us to inspect our forest to see the extent of the downed trees. Our white pines and maple trees were basically in good condition with some limbs broken off but no serious damage. The biggest damage was to 3-6 inch dbh fur and white birch. See the photos in this post of our fir trees. Land in Hancock County and land in Waldo county seemed to have the largest amount of downed trees. Some trees snapped at the top, others in the middle and some near the butt.
A friend asked me today if Maine timberland is a good investment. I think it is and invest in it myself. For me, there are many reasons for doing so.
I became interested in timberland because it has been a proven investment for many of my clients and other family members. I have witnessed well managed land provide periodic returns of stumpage while the land remained well stocked with trees for future harvest. As an investment, one of the key features of timber is the ability for the owner to leave trees on the stump to grow and move up to a more valuable product class. Unlike other crops, if markets are not good, trees can be left for a later harvest when markets improve. Additionally, with a number of other potential uses, land values over time usually continue to rise.
I would also credit forestland for helping to improve my mental health. Spending time in the forest I own has a relaxing effect on my mind. Doing the physical work of timber stand improvement not only helps increase the value of my woodlot, I find it the perfect stress reliever as it lets me forget about the complications of our modern world. Improving land of any kind gives me and most others I know a great feeling of accomplishment.
As a hunter, owning timberland gives me the ability to help our local game animals by managing areas for them. New growth from a harvest provides a desirable food source and cover for many of our favorite species like ruffed grouse, woodcock, rabbit, whitetail deer and moose. Areas left heavily wooded will provide good winter cover for those same animals.
The State of Maine gives a landowner a better chance at the any deer permit lottery. Any private landowner is eligible for the landowner permit drawing if the person owns a particular piece of land that is: 25 or more contiguous acres in size; is agricultural, forested or undeveloped land; and open to hunting, including hunting by permission. Any dependent living in the household of a qualifying landowner is eligible.
Maine has another benefit for timberland owners. The tree growth tax program is a special tax status available for owners who agree to manage their lands the commercial harvest of the forest. This reduction in property tax is the reward for the landowner to properly care for the forest and provide the raw materials that support our forest products industry. The requirement to have a Maine licensed forester provide a management plan also ads value to the ownership.
Timberland is a great asset that can provide you with cash returns, pride of ownership and recreational pastimes; it is also a potential legacy for your children and grandchildren. Properly managed forests have historically supplied generations of owners with all of the above.
If you are interested in learning more about timberland investing, United Country Real Estate's timberland specialty property group has an informative free E Book written by Eric J. Holzmueller PhD. Eric is a forester and one of United Country's many licensed foresters who are also land brokers. You can download the free book at http://investintimberland.com/
If you own timberland in Maine you are probably aware that the heavy wet snows of late 2014 have been tough on young trees in the forest. During a recent trip to our woodlot we found our access road clogged with dozens of bent over birch, maple and other trees weighted down with snow and ice. Trees in this condition are referred to by loggers as "spring poles". If you are a new land owner not familiar with how to remove these trees please be careful. They may be small and look harmless but there is a lot of energy stored in that bow in the tree.
If you have no chainsaw experience it would be well advised that you hire a professional to clear spring poles from your roads and trails. Professional loggers will avoid these trees unless they need to be removed from access roads or present a danger near other trees they intend to harvest.
Should you need to remove a spring pole yourself here is a video showing a safer way to do so.
On Wednesday Peter and I attended the annual meeting of the Small Woodlands Owners Association of Maine. This year marks the 40th year for the non-profit group. SWOAM was formed in 1975 by a group of non-industrial forestland owners interested in sharing knowledge about how to better manage their private woodlands to improve tree quality, wildlife habitat and other topics important to Maine land owners.
This year's annual meeting featured an energetic Col. Rick LaFlamme of the Maine Warden Service explaining the New Landowner Relations Program being implemented by his department. The Warden Service, under Rick's leadership, promises to proactively assist Maine's landowners to deal with litter, property damage and the lack of respect shown by the few who don't appreciate the open access offered by many of our state's private land owners.
Maine author and outdoor expert George Smith spoke about his new book "A Life Lived Outdoors" and his good humor and obvious passion for Maine entertained those attending.
Hemant Pendse, University of Maine professor and Director of the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute gave a fascinating talk on new uses for wood including cross laminated wood, uses for nano cellulose, making liquid fuels such as jet fuel from wood and the potential for markets for wood derived sugars. The work of Dr. Pendse and others from the University of Maine, in collaboration with other colleges around the country and private businesses promises to keep Maine and the US the leaders in innovation for new forest products.
The after lunch session included Maine humorist Gary Crocker who kept the group laughing preventing that after meal downer. Following Gary, a panel of four discussed the future of Maine lumber and wood using mills in the state. The panel included members from the sawmill industry, paper industry, timberland appraisal and private consultants. Jason Brochu, of Pleasant River Lumber Company discussed the need for Maine forestland owners to produce quality saw logs and Donna Cassese, Managing Director of Wood Resource Strategy at Sappi Fine Paper told us how her mills have stayed profitable with niche products such as dissolving pulp.
The day was wrapped up with an interesting presentation by forest pathologist Bill Ostrofsky of the Maine Forest Service. Bill talked about well-known pests such as the spruce budworm and emerald ash borer. Bill also told us about a new strain of white pine blister rust fungus and hemlock shoot blight and how to identify these diseases.
Peter and I have been members of SWOAM for a short time. I can say as a Maine woodland owner you certainly get a good value from membership. The monthly newsletter, annual meeting/learning event, more than 50 workshops per year, legislative updates concerning land ownership and many other benefits more than offset the cost of membership.
To learn more about SWOAM, check out the website at http://www.swoam.org
At first glance forest products markets look a little glum in Maine. A lot of the airtime on the news is directed at mill closures and declining markets. What the news doesn't always tell you are the new opportunities and investments that are being made in some of the more successful mills and other global marketing opportunities that are opening up. Regardless of the market conditions, it is always a good idea to keep different eggs in different baskets and not rely solely on a few markets. This also works for the species and quality of trees you maintain on our woodlot. Managing your woodlot is much like managing your investment portfolio. The more you diversify your investments the less risk you assume. Trees of various species and conditions (mostly better quality) will give you more options in the future to take advantage of markets and capitalize on your investment. Not only does diversity in the structure and species of your woodlot improve your ability to take advantage of a variety of markets, but it also benefits other management goals such as creating habitat for a broader range of wildlife.
Even aged management of your property (maintaining trees of mostly one age class) also decreases your diversity and lengthens the time between harvests and your income from those harvests. If you harvested the majority of your trees in one entry it could be 40-60 years before you could enter those stands again for treatment. Uneven or multi-aged management allows for 3 or more age classes to be grown at one time. With this management strategy a landowner could enter a woodlot every 15-20 years and take advantage of certain markets more often. Maintaining trees of varying sizes and ages allows you to selectively harvest ones that are mature while growing the next crop at the same time thus decreasing the time between entries. Of course not all woodlots are created equal and sometimes our options are limited. At times a mixture of both strategies should be applied depending on the conditions of a given stand of trees. Whichever strategy you choose for your property, take the time to decide what your long term goals are and plan carefully to maximize the full benefit of your property.
Anyone looking for a reasonable investment in coastal Maine land should consider the Belfast area a great place to start. You can find land here for timber/recreation as well as development use. Prices will vary greatly depending on the size of the parcel, its proximity to the shore and many other factors.
One of the big attractions to many of the small Waldo County towns is the close proximity to the Coast and Penobscot Bay. Belfast is one of my favorite small cities in Maine. It is not as well known as Bar Harbor and Rockland but that is not a bad thing.
Belfast has a great downtown area with small specialty shops. One of my favorite don't miss spots is Rollie's Pub located at 37 Main Street. The atmosphere is energetic with staff and locals who are Maine friendly. After a meal at Rollie's a short walk down to the town board walk along the bay will help burn off a few French fries. The boardwalk and public park area on Belfast Bay is a great chance to see some impressive yachts in harbor.
Peter and I listed a gorgeous 100+ acre woodlot in Swanville this week. The weather was beautiful for a snowshoe but the snow conditions were not. Anyone who snowshoes knows how much fun three feet of fresh powder can be. A little sun, wind and warmer temps should improve the conditions for this winter activity. This property located on Oak Hill Road has some nice timber, a long access driveway and a partly constructed home/cabin in need of some TLC and good carpenter skills. There is an existing well, septic and concrete pad for a garage. Power has been run onto the property. It is just 5 miles from the property to downtown Belfast!
If you own a home in town and have been looking for a place to hunt, hike, cut firewood or invest, you should look into this new listing. Call us to if you want to see this property this winter. If you need more information click the link here for more details.
If you are like many of our customers concerned with having all of their retirement investments tied to the stock market you may want to look into a self-directed IRA. With a self-directed IRA you will be ready to act when you find that Maine land for sale that you know is a good investment.
What is a self-directed IRA?
The Individual Retirement Account or IRA has been around for many years as an incentive for individuals to save money tax deferred for their retirement. A self-directed IRA is simply an IRA that gives you complete control over what you invest in.
What can you invest in?
Unlike most IRA's offered by banks or custodians the self-directed IRA can be used for nontraditional IRA investments like real estate, notes, precious metals and many others. Maine timberland, farmland, land with development potential, waterfront and more could be a great diversification to you investment portfolio.
The best benefit of the SDIRA is the ability to have control over what you invest in. No one cares more about your retirement than you do. You can invest in what you know instead of letting others have control of your future. You can partner with friends and others on new investment opportunities. Your investments will grow tax deferred.
All investments have risk and a self-directed IRA will require you to do your own due diligence to mitigate risk.
Because this type of tax deferred account could have a lot of potential tax advantages for you the IRS has a lot of rules that need to be followed.
Is it right for you?
You will need to decide if the ability to control your own destiny is something you are comfortable doing. If you do not have time for researching your own investments you may want to stick with a traditional IRA. If you are one of a growing number of individuals concerned with the course of traditional banking and investing, the self-directed IRA is worth a look.
Is it time to harvest your timberland in Maine? If so and you do not have the experience, equipment or desire to do it yourself, do you know how to find someone to do the harvesting for you?
Choosing a logger is a very important process in the management of your timber investment. Done properly, harvesting will pay a return on investment with competitive stumpage checks, improve the growth of the remaining trees, protect sensitive areas, provide habitat for game animals, open views and possibly make road improvements. An improper harvest may do just the opposite of the above. So how do you go about finding a logger you ask?
If you have a forest management plan you should start with your Maine professional forester who prepared your plan. He or she should know some reputable loggers who they could refer to you. Once you have a couple of names ask some questions.
- Ask for references from other land owners that the logger has worked for. Call them and ask how the job turned out.
- Ask for their certifications. The better loggers in Maine will have been through the Certified Logging Program (CLP) or the Master Logger Certification (MLC). Both of these credentials show that they have some working knowledge of proper forestry and safety techniques.
- Ask them to show you that they are insured for workers compensation in case of an accident. You do not want an injury on your land to become your problem.
- If you can, visit a couple of their past jobs sites to see how they left the land.
- Once you have decided on a contractor get a signed contract for the job. This will give you and your logger have a clear understanding of how the job will be done and what and when you will be paid for your trees.
If you get an unsolicited offer in the mail or over the phone be cautious. That logger may or may not be good at what they do, to be sure use the above questions.
As always I would recommend that your independent forester be part of the process. Their assistance in the process will most likely pay dividends for the future of your forest.
For more information on timberland see http://investintimberland.com/
With over 600 acres of land this 3,600+ square foot quality home has a lot of luxury to offer in an off grid setting. The land consists of 50+- acres of open fields and the balance of the 634+/- acres is a mixture of diverse timberland.
The open fields surrounding the home would be perfect for organic farming or grazing pastureland for livestock.
From the home the views to the east are of the surrounding hilltops with no other homes in sight.
The property has a lot of sugar maple large enough for tapping.
Two small trout streams run through the property one complete with a beaver pond.
The home has a wrap around porch offering panoramic views of the largest field. Moose and deer are regular visitors to this part of the property. The property sports a large barn with stalls for horses. A tractor barn, tool shed, power supply building and other storage sheds plus a two car garage provides space for all your storage needs.
Electric power is made on the property with a combination of solar, wind and propane generator. Heating is a mixture of wood, oil and gas allowing you to use whatever is most economical in the market place.
The 11 room 3 bedroom 2 bath contemporary farm home has features rarely found in an off grid setting. Ten foot ceilings on the first floor, hardwood flooring throughout, large open kitchen and dining room complete with an antique cook stove.
This property is priced at an unbelievable $525,000. Hurry and call Rick Theriault at 207-731-9902 today before you miss this rare opportunity to purchase the most amazing home and land combination for sale in Maine today.