Partnership to Protect VT Timberland

Montpelier, VT, 1/4/02 – A partnership between the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced today the purchase of 11,854 acres of northeastern Vermont forestland currently owned by the Boston-based Hancock Timber Resource Group (HTRG). The lands are located in the towns of East Haven, Newark, Brighton, Ferdinand, Morgan, Westmore, Warners Grant and Warren’s Gore. TPL now holds title to 6,508 acres of these lands and TNC owns the other 5,346 acres.

Most of this land has conservation and public access easements on it that were originally conveyed by HTRG to the State of Vermont through the Forest Legacy Program in 1996. The new nonprofit owners do not expect to hold the property permanently, but will likely re-sell the land to private timberland buyers in the future.

“We look forward to working with the communities where these properties are located, as well as with prospective buyers, to assure that public values are protected and enhanced for the future,” stated Jon Binhammer, director of land protection for The Nature Conservancy. “Our goal as partners in this project is to protect ecological resources, public access, and the economic potential of these lands for the benefit of the people of this area and the entire state of Vermont.”

Scott Abrahamson, project manager for the Trust for Public Land, stated, “We are committed to ensuring that these lands are ultimately transferred to responsible timberland owners with a track record of sustainably managing land protected by conservation easements.”

Hancock Timber Resource Group has owned these lands since 1993 and has managed them as a timber investment for its institutional clients. Henry Whittemore, northeast regional manager for HTRG, said, “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the Vermont chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land. In our business as timberland managers, we seek to maintain a balance among economic, environmental, and community values. This transaction and our partnership with TNC and TPL will help to protect this balance as an integral part of the Northeast Kingdom for years to come.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization with offices in Montpelier, Vermont, dedicated to conserving lands for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres nationwide, including nearly 25,000 acres in Vermont. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money Magazine recently rated TPL the most efficient large conservation charity in the country for the second year in a row, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs. For more information, visit

The Nature Conservancy, whose Vermont offices are in Montpelier, works to preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the land and waters they need to survive. TNC owns a network of preserves totaling some 18,000 acres in Vermont and has participated in the conservation of over 190,000 acres in Vermont since its Vermont chapter formed in 1960.

HTRG is the world’s leading timberland investment management organization for institutional clients, with $2.6 billion and 3 million acres under management in NorthAmerica and Australia. HTRG is an indirect subsidiary of John Hancock Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE: JHF)