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Timber Resolution and Background

Congregational Resolution Approving Timber Harvest

Annual Congregational Meeting of Abingdon Episcopal Church

January 31, 2021

Resolved, that at a properly noticed Annual Meeting of Abingdon Episcopal Church in White Marsh, VA on January 31, 2021 the congregation hereby approves the harvesting of 78 acres of pine on the eastern section of the property, except for at least a one hundred foot (100’) buffer along the entire western boundary of Timber Parcel B, a/k/a Tax Map 39-131, and further hereby instructs the Trustees and the Vestry to pursue such actions, including the entering into contracts and obtaining such further approvals, as may be necessary or advisable as determined by the Vestry in order to effectuate such harvest.

Background:

Abingdon Episcopal Church holds 135.9 acres of land.  Of this, 18.39 is used for the church, Parish House, parking lot, Cemetery, and “North End” (where we hold the Oyster Roast).  117.5 acres are held in managed timber in two parcels.  Parcel (A) in our forestry consultant’s report of March 14, 2017 contains approximately 41.2 acres and was harvested in 2019.  The other parcel (B) contains 78 acres on the east side of the property. This is the tract we are discussing today.  According to our timber management plan, this tract should be harvested in 2021-22. The timing of harvest in this time frame is driven by the maturity of the timber and market price of lumber.

Our timber is loblolly pine and was planted in 1987, as stated in our forestry consultant’s report.  This type of timber is typically managed on a 25-30 year rotation.  Loblolly pine was chosen for its growth characteristics, value, and compatibility with the primary soil type in our area, which is Kempsville fine sandy loam.  We have thinned our timber twice over the past 12 years to encourage healthy growth.  Our last thinning was in 2014. Our timber is now in the best condition it can be in.

In 2018 as part of the harvesting of tract A, the vestry appointed a Timber Advisory Group to make recommendations on the harvest of both parcels.  These recommendations are to cover the topics of setbacks, future land use, and other stewardship of the resources.

Why do we need to vote on this?  The Canons of The Episcopal Church require congregational approval whenever real property held by the  parish is sold or encumbered. We are not selling the land;  we are selling the timber to a harvester.

Is this connected with the solar project?  No. Our timber plan calls for us to harvest this stand of trees in this time frame.  Regardless of whether we lease the tract of land for the solar project, we should  be harvesting this tract as it is near its peak value.  If we do lease the tract for solar, we will want to have it harvested so that Abingdon realizes its value.