Allen Yale, Jr: Northeast Regional Tree Farmer of the Year
“When you walk through my woods you’ll see that mine has been a gentle touch on the land,” says Allen Yale, Jr., of Derby, Vermont. Yale, whose 91-acre Yaledale Tree Farm has been part of the American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) since 1978, is proud of the fact that “unless you look carefully, you won’t notice that people have been harvesting.”
A self-sufficient New Englander, Yale has done most of the work on his Tree Farm himself during the past 40 years, managing his pine and mixed hardwood and softwood forests with help from his wife, Kathleen. He built himself a sawmill to cut the trees he harvests into lumber. He tore down four badly deteriorated barns, restored two and built three. Every year, he cuts the 12 to 16 cords of firewood he and Kathleen use to keep their home, a restored 1840 farmhouse, cozy during northern Vermont’s long winters.
Yale’s professional career as a high school and Vermont State College teacher has spurred him to use Yaledale as an outdoor classroom for local schoolchildren, conservation organizations, other Tree Farmers and landowners he teaches about stewardship through the Vermont Coverts program. “As I think about the future, I want to keep the educational component of the farm in place,” he says.
A member of the Vermont Tree Farm Committee, Yale credits both Tree Farm and the Coverts program with helping him think holistically about how he manages his land. While harvesting timber is Yale’s primary goal, wildlife is also a major management focus, and he tries to leave plenty of dead snags and fallen trees as habitat. “If it looks too neat, it is too neat,” he notes. “I like seeing the pair of geese on the pond and knowing that I’m living in harmony with wildlife.”