Banner Photo: Big Brook Bog on former Connecticut Lakes property in Northern, New Hampshire,
In April, 2016, The Lyme Forest Fund IV purchased 12,875 acres of timberland in northwestern Wisconsin. The property is surrounded by conserved lands, including timberlands owned by a prior investment fund managed by Lyme Timber. The property and nearby conservation lands contain rare natural pine barrens habitat, which hosts an abundance of unique and threatened species. Because of the significance of these ecosystems and the property's adjacency to existing conserved lands, the Fund expects to sell both conservation easements and fee interests in the coming months.
In December, 2015, The Lyme Forest Fund IV acquired an 111,967-acre property near Fort Bragg, California. The Lyme Redwood Timberlands represent a vast expanse of coastal redwood and Douglas fir that has been managed as industrial timberland for over a century, and will be maintained by Lyme as a sustainably-managed working forest. Since it contains a large portion of the Ten Mile River watershed, a vital habitat for spawning salmon, the property is a top priority for working forest conservation in California.
In November, 2015, The Lyme Forest Fund IV purchased four stream mitigation banks (three permitted and one pending) in West Virginia. Under the continued management of the original project developer, Lyme will restore stream habitat in these four locations and sell credits to public and private entities who need to mitigate the impacts on nearby streams of their development projects.
In May, 2015, The Lyme Forest Fund IV purchased 22,780 acres of timberland in Madison and Taylor Counties, Florida. The Gilman Forest is a mixture of upland pine plantations suitable for sustainable forest management, and lower-lying areas of bottomland hardwoods that provide critical water quality protection and aquifer recharge potential within the Suwannee River watershed. The entire property serves as an ecological greenway and provides strategic conservation habitat for both wildlife and game species.
In July, 2014, The Lyme Forest Fund III purchased a 25,000-acre ranch outside of Pueblo, Colorado. Lyme has negotiated the terms of an option agreement with a local land trust for the purchase of a conservation easement over the property, which is unusual in its size and proximity to a significant population center. In addition, Lyme intends to partner with the Savory Institute to design and implement improvements to the ranch that will facilitate sustainable cattle ranching operations consistent with the terms of the easement.
In July, 2014, The Lyme Forest Fund III purchased 6,700 acres of timberland in Lafayette County, Florida. The property will be managed as part of Lyme’s Cross City operating unit.
In June, 2014, The Lyme Forest Fund III purchased 19,500 acres of timberland in Gilchrist County, Florida. The property is between Lyme’s Cross City property and the city of Gainesville and will be managed as part of the Cross City operating unit.
In March, 2014, The Lyme Forest Fund III purchased a 141-acre parcel in Blount County, Alabama in order to establish a stream mitigation bank. The property had been optioned by Wetlands Solutions, a mitigation banking firm with which Lyme has partnered in the management of the Lillian Swamp Mitigation Bank (described below). Lyme has partnered with an affiliate of Wetlands Solutions to manage the bank, which is currently undergoing the permitting process.
In February, 2014, The Lyme Forest Fund III purchased a combination of fee interests and a mitigation use rights easement on a 2,555-acre property in Richland County, South Carolina. Located almost adjacent to the Congaree National Park and a short distance from the city of Columbia, the property had long been coveted as a conservation priority by government and conservation groups. Most of the property is being permitted as a wetland and stream mitigation bank in partnership with Eco-Capital Advisors. Richland County has agreed to purchase mitigation credits generated by the bank.
In December, 2013, The Lyme Forest Fund III entered into an agreement to purchase a mitigation use rights easement on 1,100 acres of degraded wetlands in Polk County, Florida. Lyme has partnered with Eco-Capital Advisors to establish and entitle a mitigation bank on the property to serve the Hillsborough basin, a service area which covers much of the metro-Tampa area.
The Lyme Forest Fund III acquired 46,500 acres of timberland from an affiliate of The Campbell Group in December, 2013. The property, located on Florida’s Gulf Coast in Dixie County, includes slash pine plantations and unique wetland and bottomland hardwood areas.
The lands are adjacent to the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, and 32,000 acres of timberlands already protected by a working forest conservation easement held by the Suwannee River Wildlife Management District.
The Conservation Fund (TCF) will work with Lyme to structure a conservation outcome in partnership with the local community and public agencies in Florida. One of the main conservation objectives is to preserve natural stream flows,
aquifer recharge, and water quality, all of which are critical to the health of
adjacent marshes, seagrass beds, and oyster reefs. Other conservation objectives include restricting development, securing traditional hunting and fishing uses of the property, and maintaining sustainable forest management and timber production on upland pine
In December, 2013, The Lyme Forest Fund III acquired approximately 52,000 acres of land and timber interests associated with the 63,000-acre Kenauk Montebello property in southwestern Quebec. The property has a storied history and consists of over 70 lakes, including most of the 3,212-acre Lac Papineau. Located just a few miles from the Fairmont Le Château Montebello, a luxury 1930-era hotel that is considered to be the largest intact and in-use log structure in the world, the property contains important wildlife habitat. While the property can be managed for timber and recreation, it also has development potential due to its prime location between Ottawa and Montreal.
Lyme purchased the property in partnership with four local families and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), all of whom are committed to conserving the Kenauk property and continuing its historical use for recreation and wildlife habitat. The local families will operate the existing outfitting business on the entire property. As part of the transaction, NCC acquired approximately 10,000 acres in fee and the right to acquire additional conservation interests from Lyme over the next four years. Lyme is conducting sustainable timber harvesting operations on the property.
The Lyme Forest Fund III acquired 72,500 acres of timberland from the Wausau Paper Company in December, 2011. The property, located in northwestern Wisconsin, is principally forested with red pine plantations and has unique
geologic features and natural areas. Conservation partners include The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Lyme helped conserve approximately 44,000 acres in 2012 through the sale of the first phase of a working forest conservation easement to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. A second phase of the conservation easement is anticipated to close in 2015 and will permanently protect an additional 21,000 acres.
Photo credit: Landvest.
The Lyme Forest Fund III acquired a 755-acre wetland mitigation bank in April 2013 in partnership with Environmental Banc & Exchange (EBX). The property, located outside of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is an inholding in the Lewis Bay Heritage Preserve and comprises a series of Carolina Bays, relic pine savanna, and xeric longleaf pine sand rim. Restoration work will consist primarily of prescribed burns. The underlying land is owned by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The mitigation banking instrument was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in June, 2013.
In September, 2013, The Lyme Forest Fund III acquired a controlling interest in the 892-acre Lillian Swamp Mitigation Bank in southeastern Alabama. The bank was established by Wetlands Solutions, LLC, an experienced developer and operator of mitigation banks in Alabama and Mississippi, and permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in August, 2011. The property consists primarily of bottomland hardwoods, with some pine savannah, and wetlands on the property will be restored and preserved to generate mitigation credits in Mobile and Baldwin counties. Wetlands Solutions will continue to manage the bank in partnership with Lyme.
In December, 2011, The Lyme Forest Fund III acquired approximately 3,200 acres of forestland on Maine's Schoodic Peninsula, adjacent to Acadia National Park. The property is completely undeveloped and contains more than a mile of shore frontage, including the 15-acre Sargent's Island. It has been a high priority for the conservation community for a number of years. Conservation partners include Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the National Park Service and Friends of Acadia.
Upon purchasing the property, Lyme partnered with the Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) and a philanthropic family foundation that wished to ensure the protection of the southern portion of the property, which abuts the Schoodic division of Acadia National Park. MCHT subsequently purchased a conservation easement over the southern portion of the property and donated it to the National Park Service, effectively extending Acadia National Park to include those acres.
Lyme acquired approximately 278,000 acres of land in New York’s Adirondack State Park from International Paper in 2006. The property comprises the largest private forestland ownership in the state of New York and includes some of the region’s highest quality sugar maple stands as well as a diversity of other hardwood and softwood species. The lands also include frontage on a number of scenic rivers and access to undeveloped ponds and lakes in the Adirondacks. Lyme helped conserve the property through the sale of a working forest conservation easement to the State of New York in 2007. The lands are certified under the terms of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council. Key partners included The Conservation Fund, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The GLS Woodlands property, purchased in 2008, consists of 22,150 acres of land on the east side of West Grand Lake in southeastern Maine. The ownership includes 17 miles of undeveloped shoreline on West Grand Lake, Lower Oxbrook Lake, and Big Lake. The property has been a major conservation priority due to the extent of its undeveloped shoreline, the lakes’ unique cold water inland fisheries and its location within a 400,000 acre area of conserved land.
This investment opportunity resulted from the successful partnership with the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, The Conservation Fund, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., the Sustainable Forest Futures of The Northern Forest Center and the State of Maine Department of Conservation. Lyme sold a working forest conservation easement over nearly the entire ownership to the State of Maine in 2012. The lands have been certified under the terms of the Forest Stewardship Council.
Lyme’s Tennessee properties consist of 125,000 acres of land and timber interests in the Cumberland Mountains in northeastern Tennessee. The lands were acquired in 2007 as part of a major conservation initiative sponsored by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen with support from the Tennessee chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Other conservation partners included the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Over 100,000 acres of the property have been permanently protected, and the majority of the ownership has obtained Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. In 2012, Lyme sold 42,200 acres of this ownership to another timberland investment management organization.
Talisheek Pine Savanna, acquired in 2008, consists of 2,510 acres of land adjacent to an important Nature Conservancy preserve in eastern St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The property contains wetlands, working forests and endangered species (gopher tortoise). Lyme and its joint venture partner, Ecosystem Investment Partners, have established this property as an approved wetland and endangered species mitigation bank.
Restoration work includes removal of the existing pine plantations through timber harvesting and the restoration of a mosaic of longleaf pine savannas, slash/pond pine cypress woodlands, and bayhead swamps through replanting and controlled burns. The restoration of longleaf pine habitat in this area is a high conservation priority because less than 2% of the original habitat remains in Louisiana. The restoration work also includes removal of invasive species and restoring natural hydrology to some portions of the property that have been altered by roads, ditches and culverts.
Nanticoke Headwaters was purchased by Lyme in December 2007 with Ecosystem Investment Partners and another investor. It consists of 1,206 acres of land in southern Delaware and has been approved as Delaware’s first wetland and endangered species mitigation bank. The property lies within the Cypress Swamp Forest Legacy Area, a conser- vation priority for the State of Delaware, and contains habitat for the federally listed Delmarva fox squirrel. Over the past two hundred years, the properties have been extensively ditched and drained, resulting in significant alteration of the natural wooded wetlands. Restoration work would return the lands to a natural functioning wetland.
Great Dismal Swamp, a 1,037 acre in-holding in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Virginia was purchased in 2007 with Ecosystems Investment Partners. The property has been approved as a wetland and endangered species mitigation bank and the initial round of credits has been sold. Restoration work consisted of removing an old airfield, plugging and filling the ditches that had drained the wetland for agriculture, re-contouring the property and replanting nearly 300,000 native trees and shrubs. The land is protected by a conservation easement held by the Virginia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
The Clarion Timber Company lands are located in northwestern Pennsylvania, south of the Allegheny National Forest. This is an unusually productive hardwood region of the US, particularly renowned for the quality of its black cherry. The Clarion lands were purchased in 2004 and have been managed with an emphasis on value accretion. Lyme has sold the property in phases, the last of which occurred in April, 2013. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy was a conservation partner for Lyme in this deal.
The 85,500 acre Chateaugay Woodlands property is located in the northern part of New York's Adirondack State Park. It was purchased in 2004 as part of a larger conservation transaction in which The Nature Conservancy acquired the adjacent 20,000 acres in fee and the right to purchase an assignable conservation easement on the lands acquired by Lyme. Lyme obtained Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for its timber operations and sold a working forest conservation easement on the property to the State of New York. Lyme sold the property to a private timberland investment group in 2009.
Chateaugay Woodlands can generally be categorized as upland woodlands, with mountainous terrain, stream cut valleys and numerous wetlands. Lyme incorporated the protection of all of these sensitive features into its forest management plan and the working forest conservation easement. Its conservation was possible due to Lyme's partnerships with the New York Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Open Space Institute.
The 146,400 acre Connecticut Lakes Timber Company property is located in northern New Hampshire in the headwaters forest of the Connecticut River. Lyme acquired this property in 2002 as part of a larger effort to conserve 171,000 acres in the region, in which 25,000 acres was acquired by NH Fish & Game Department, subject to a conservation easement held by The Nature Conservancy. Lyme was selected to buy the remaining 146,000 acres. At the time of Lyme's ownership, it was the largest private land holding in the state.
Lyme sold a working forest conservation easement over the entire property to the New Hampshire Department of Forests and Lands and obtained third-party certification under the guidelines of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) on the conserved forests. Conservation partners included the New Hampshire Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the New Hampshire Department of Forests and Lands and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. In 2009, Lyme sold the property to a private timberland investment group.
Lyme's Berkshire properties are part of a small conservation/ development investment in which Lyme aggregated 1,048 acres in southwestern Massachusetts in 2008. In June 2013, Lyme sold 906 acres to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a wildlife management area. Other smaller parcels were sold separately.
Amherst Woodlands, purchased in 2006, consisted of 5,400 acres of timberland in central Maine. At closing, the Forest Society of Maine acquired a transferable three-year option to buy the property from Lyme. In 2009, the Forest Society of Maine transferred their purchase rights and Lyme sold the property to the State of Maine Department of Conservation.
This 5,768 acre property in central Maine was purchased by Lyme in 2002 and sold in 2005. It was considered high priority conservation land because of its 16,000 feet of frontage on undeveloped Eagle Lake and is adjacent to another property protected by a working forest conservation easement.
In 2000, Lyme purchased the 5,484 acre 13 Mile Woods in Northern New Hampshire. The property features mature hardwood and softwood forests, nine miles of frontage along the Androscoggin River, Munn Pond, and many opportunities for public recreation. 13 Mile Woods was identified as an important wildlife corridor in the region, linking Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge to the White Mountain National Forest.
Lyme successfully conserved the majority of the property by selling a working forest conservation easement to The Trust for Public Land. Other important conservation partners included the State of New Hampshire Land and Community Investment Program, the Town of Errol and the US Forest Service Forest Legacy Program. In 2005, the easement encumbered property was acquired by the Town of Errol to be managed as a community forest.
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The Mascoma River/Smarts Mountain property, consisting of 6,200 acres in western NH, adjoined the Appalachian Trail corridor and a vast holding of conservation land in the area. After its purchase in 1991, Lyme sold an initial conservation easement over 2,130 acres to the State of New Hampshire Land Conservation Investment Program and the Trust for New Hampshire Lands then later sold an additional conservation easement over 2, 230 acres to the US Forest Service. Subsequently, portions of the land were sold in fee to the National Park Service and the US Forest Service to be added to the Appalachian Trail corridor. The balance of the easement encumbered land was sold to a private investor in 1999.
The Chittenden Timber Company lands consisted of 8,038 acres in central Vermont and was purchased by Lyme in 1998. At the time, it was the largest private land holding within the Green Mountain National Forest and had been identified by the conservation community as a high propriety for acquisition by the US Forest Service. In 2001, 7,500 acres were sold to the US Forest Service while the remainder was held by Lyme for selective timber harvesting. In 2003, Lyme sold the remainder of the property to a private investor subject to an easement held by The Trust for Public Land.
In 1998, the 2,660 acre Fiery Mountain/Little Pond property in southern Maine was acquired by the Lyme Timber Company. At the time of purchase, Lyme sold a conservation easement covering 30% of the property to the State of Maine Department of Conservation. In addition, Lyme sold portions of the property in fee to the State of Maine Department of Conservation, abutting landowners and a private buyer. In the next two years, other portions were sold to private buyers. In 2001, the balance of the land was sold to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
In 1993, Lyme purchased approximately 10,250 acres of forestland in 40 parcels ranging in size from 80 acres to 2,300 acres in southern Maine. The property contained high quality forestland with 14.4 miles of public road frontage and 4.4 miles of pond and river frontage. Between 1994 and 1996, Lyme sold approximately 10,000 acres to private investors. In 1999, the remainder of the land, including two miles of sensitive river frontage on the Saco River, was sold on a bargain-sale basis to the Maine Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to be conserved.
Located in central Pennsylvania, the 2,500 acre Kingwood Forest Tract was managed as a long term, high quality forestland holding, operated on a sustained yield basis. The property includes three miles of frontage on Laurel Hill Creek, a regionally important trout stream. This property was purchased in 1991 and sold in 1998.
Lyme organized the Vermont Forest Conservation Fund to invest in Vermont forestland with significant conservation values. In1996, the Fund purchased 3,654 acres of forestland in northern Vermont adjacent to the Long Trail. In 1999, a conservation easement was sold to the Vermont Land Trust over the entire property and in 2001 the easement encumbered land was sold to a private investor. Another conservation partner in this transaction was the Catamount Trail Association.