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11/20/2005 Archived Entry: "Logging the forest next to Cabin Sweet Cabin?/Property taxes"
ON THE EASTERN BOUNDARY AT CABIN SWEET CABIN a mature forest makes a serene, privacy-respecting neighbor. Beautiful one, too. On summer nights owls call and coyotes prowl. I can not only look up into the majestic trees, but can walk to my fence line and gaze down into a dark, cool intimate glen, covered with enormous trunks and greenery.
This forest isn't exactly old growth. Nothing around here is. But the family who owns it never cuts until both the trees and the prices at the mill scales are right. These trees have been left to grow bigger and older than most in the area, by far. I've always known someday I would lose this wonderful neighbor.
This week, the owners began logging a portion of their forest a quarter of a mile from here. For a while, I thought the patch next to Cabin Sweet Cabin would be spared the chainsaw. But this afternoon, a grader came. I heard it, just out of my sight, opening up a disused logging road not 100 yards away. They might merely be doing road maintenance, since they have equipment out here already. Or it might be bye-bye forest. I'll know in a day or two.
I have mixed feelings about losing the trees, if that's what's going to happen. Beautiful as they are, I've long suspected that they block an even more beautiful view that lies beyond them. Cabin Sweet Cabin already has a gorgeous prospect to the north. If these trees go, I might have a full 180 degrees of splendor (at least for the next 12 years or so, until new trees grow high enough to block the east side again). Certainly I'll also get hours more sunlight every day -- most welcome this time of year.
If this were New Hampshire, the government could tax Cabin Sweet Cabin's view at a punitively high rate, making it impossible for a person like me to live in beauty like this. (Extrapolating from the experience of the man in the linked story, I estimate that in New Hampshire, property taxes alone on land like this would consume somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of my gross annual income if the tax assessors liked my view as much as I do.)
As is, I live in a state that bases its assessments almost entirely on size of the parcel, square footage of the structure, and a few other factors like age and condition of the dwelling. So, to my relief and gratitude, riff raff such as I are still "allowed" to own beautiful property here. If the trees do fall and the view becomes as spectacular as I hope, the only punishment will come from the sun, which will beam down awfully hard in July.
But somehow I think I can handle that -- a lot more easily than I could handle paying $3-$4,000 a year to the state for the "privilege" of enjoying nature. Nature that the state didn't create and did nothing to improve.
Posted by Claire @ 06:12 PM CST