Bullard Lumber, which first began operation in the 1800s, was known for a unique processing method that turned green maple into golf tees at a mill in North Hyde Park. During the 1950s and ‘60s, the company was the largest golf tee manufacturer in the world, producing a half million tees per day. These days, the mill is gone but the family is still very connected to its forestland.

When Vernon Bullard passed away at the age of 93 in 2013, the Bullard family faced a dilemma many families in the state face when forestland is passed down to the next generation—what to do when there are multiple heirs and not everyone wants to continue owning the land?

Don Bullard, Vernon’s son, and his wife, Bonnie, decided to sell a conservation easement on 1,412 acres to the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation. This will allow them to purchase the land from other family members and keep it as one parcel. “We saw the sale of an easement as a way to keep the land in the family and continue managing it as we have for more than 100 years,” said Don. The Bullards and their two sons sugar a portion of the property and manage the remainder for timber.

VLT worked with Bullards and the state to facilitate the project, and provided mapping and legal work. Funding for the easement purchase came from the federal Forest Legacy Program, which was started in 1990 through the efforts of Senator Leahy.

The Green River Reservoir State Park borders the Bullard forestland to the east and a large privately owned parcel also conserved with the Forest Legacy Program lies it to the west. Altogether, the conservation of the Bullard Lumber property connects 12,500 protected acres to the east with 48,000 protected acres to the west. “Conserving forestland that provides a critical connection between large protected properties will help wildlife, particularly wide-ranging species,” explained VLT’s Carl Powden. “These lands lie in a  major internationally significant crossroads, both in the east–west direction as well as north–south.” The land has nearly a mile of frontage on the Gihon River, a third of mile of frontage on Beaver Meadow Brook, more than four miles of frontage on unidentified streams plus 12 acres of wetlands.  

Funded by the federal Forest Legacy Program. (December 2017)