I'm in the process of getting ready for a timber sale.  I would characterize it as a small sale one parcel is 20-acres the other 31-acres.  The sale would be exclusively white ash as the Emerald ash borer has been found about 5.5 miles away from my property.  I'm thinking that I would like to log one property one year and the other the next so I can better salvage the firewood and because of tax purposes.

The ash ranges in dbh from 10-inches to about 17-inches, with much of it falling around 12 to 14-inches so I'm not sure that I want to bid the sale out.  Perhaps more importantly we have two loggers locally that have very good reputations in the care they take with felling and skidding so as to minimize damage to the residual stand.  I'd like to approach one or the other and see if they would be interested in harvesting the timber.

Both properties have been logged 4x in the past 25 years; 3 high grades and one upgrade each.  Once the ash is out the remaining stand will be primarily sugar maple, red maple, red oak, black birch with a very few black cherry.  My main goals are to protect the residual stand, have a fair financial deal and other aspects of the contract for both myself and the logger, and protect my interests properly from liability concerns.

So I'm wondering if anyone has a timber sale contract that they might be willing to share with me that includes language on conducting a flat rate sale.  Contract might state that payment to owner would be 50% of the mill rate less (perhaps) $$$/MBF to compensate the logger for trucking.  Contract would stipulate that the logger buys the logs as standing timber and owns the logs in entirety.  Also that the property owner is not an employee and logger is responsible for any workmen's compensation costs.  I would be named as additionally insured on logger's liability insurance policy.

I'm thinking that the contract would state that no logging is to occur between April 1 thru June 30th and that no hung up trees will be left after cessation of activities.  Of course roads are to be left open, graded and with proper water control structures installed before the end of the contract period.  Logging is to be conducted only when the ground is frozen or firm to prevent undue damage to tree roots.

I would appreciate suggestions and if anyone has a contract that pertains that they would be willing to share that would be helpful.

Thank you.

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Hi Carl,

I can understand your reasoning - but personally I would still prefer to work with an experienced consulting forester to address your situation.  


Hi, Carl.

You are paying attention to many of the right things.  What strikes me in your nicely detailed description is the number of times that your forest has been cut in the past and how many times these cuts have been high-grades.  The low average diameter of the ash also indicates that this property has been cut fairly hard over time.

I would agree with Kevin, that a consulting forester would offer valuable advice.  Timing is crucial and this may be the last time in quite a while to do some important good work that improves the quality of your stands going forward.  If you can get some smart work done as part of the commercial logging job, the forest will be set up for best volume and value growth in the future.  Setting up the terms of the job properly is critical in such cases.  You want to attract interest from a logger and be reasonable, but also make sure all of the right things get done.  This requires expert advice, tailored to your woodlot.

An additional benefit of a consulting forester is his/her knowledge of current markets.  A 50-50 split may not be attractive to either of the loggers you are thinking of.  On the other hand, it may shortchange you.  Only a forester who is familiar with your area and has looked at your woodlot, and considered your goals, can propose a deal that will work for both parties.  If you go into this without knowing the nuances, you may end up with another high-grade.

Good luck.   Tim

Hi Tim,

I certainly don't want to do another high grade.  Fortunately I've had several foresters thru just recently and it's become pretty clear that I need to remove the white ash, basswood and hemlock.  All the other "micro" stands (species) have been taken care of in the previous harvest on each parcel.  I could put it out to bid, however, my previous experience is that with such a small sale as this it won't attract many bids, and as I mentioned I would rather try to work a deal with a logger known to be careful in the woods.  I may be wrong in my approach, but I think with a good contract I should be fine.  Thanks again for your interest and all your other posts.



Oh, good - you've gotten advice from foresters.  I think you're on the right track.  Yes, small sales are hard to bid.  Good luck with it and consider posting here any lessons learned.


Carl -

I'm curious what you ended up doing on this project.

I also wanted to point out that retaining a forester does not necessarily mean "putting it out to bid".  You can still tell your forester that "I want to use Joe Schmoe as the logger on this".  You might be well advised to consider if your forester has good reasons to consider someone else, but ultimately, its your choice.  A good forester is likely to have good contacts among the logger community, and has seen a lot of the work done by various loggers, in addition to having some knowledge about where the good markets are for what you have to sell.  However, for me one of the prime reason to retain a forester is to develop a good plan for the long range for your forest, and help assure that the work done follows that plan.

Hi John,

I hurt my shoulder throwing a chunk of firewood so have spent last 6 weeks going to physical therapy.  I didn't want to proceed not knowing if I would be ready to handle a good batch of firewood.  My shoulder is getting better so perhaps I won't be able to procrastinate much longer.  Biggest problem with this sale is that it is marginal.  The ash are sawlog size but just barely, ranging from 12 to mostly 17-inch DBH, bulk of them are probably around 14-inches DBH.  The rest of what I have is hemlock and basswood.  Many of the ash are surrounded by nice sugar maple, some red oak and a few black cherry.  So challenge is to find someone who is interested in a low volume, low value sale, yet who will do a very careful logging job.  Otherwise I just assume do nothing and let EAB take it's course (not quite on my property yet), girdle or cut for firewood trees that are hampering the growth of some of the other more high value species, etc.  Fortunately I have been working with an excellent consulting forester and our local DEC forester is excellent as well.  Thanks for the suggestions.


Good luck with the shoulder... That's why I married a physical therapist. 

I messed up my elbow pretty good throwing firewood a couple years ago.  It turns out that gripping the end of a split piece with one hand and giving it a backhanded toss is about the worst thing you can do for that. The elbow and the muscles just below on my forearm were pretty messed up for a while.  Being a "weekend warrior" didn't help... My arm just wasn't in shape for this, and by the time I noticed a problem, it was too late.



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