By Kara Herlihy

The Moretown Select Board denied Edward Buttolph's petition for a right of way for a logging operation on Route 100B near the Ward Fishing Hole.

The denial follows a site visit and a public hearing where Buttolph, a seasoned logger and timber harvester, petitioned the select board for a layout of right of way that would cross through abutting landowner Mary Ronner's property.

Ronner was present at the public hearing and opposed the petition because of the narrow width of the trails the skidders would have to utilize, a possible decrease in property value, and the impact such an operation would have on her property.


Logging consultant Dennier Roder testified that they have two different sized log skidders: one weighing 20,000 pounds with a width of 11 feet, and the other, 14,900 pounds with a width of 9 feet, both unloaded.

At the November hearing, Buttolph admitted that there were two known spots on the trail that were not wide enough to accommodate the skidders.

The solution, Buttolph offered, would be widening the narrow trail in the two known spots the skidders would have to clear.


Logger and forester Mike Marion testified that cutting the trees would create a "hell of a mess" and wouldn't recommend road widening because it would cause "irreparable damage."

Ronner, who relocated back to The Valley from Ireland in the fall, is in the preliminary stages of a building plan and has consulted Gunner McCain to design a septic system.

McCain was present at the hearing and testified that he found "only one place where the system could be constructed." That spot, according to McCain, "wouldn't be good for a skidder."


"Why would I want a logging operation by where I am living?" Ronner asked. She also said that she had "been forced back from Europe" after two years of unsuccessful negotiations with Buttolph.

Town attorney Paul Gillies had 20 days to complete his findings and conclusions from the November hearing, and was present at the January 7 select board meeting where the denial was issued.