Merck Forest

Nearly 70 years’ experience of innovative and sustainable forest management

Our story

Most of Vermont’s modern forests were open fields a century ago, when agriculture dominated land use.

When George Merck began acquiring the parcels of land which now make up Merck Forest and Farmland Center, he experimented with innovative and sustainable forest management.

Trails

Merck Forest offers over 30 miles of well-marked trails for hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Beautiful views of the Taconic Hills and Adirondack Mountains abound. 

Please check in and out at the kiosk located near the Visitor Center. Cellphone and GPS services are unreliable around the property.

Trails

Merck Forest offers over 30 miles of well-marked trails for hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Beautiful views of the Taconic Hills and Adirondack Mountains abound. 

Please check in and out at the kiosk located near the Visitor Center. Cellphone and GPS services are unreliable around the property.

Our current sugarbush is located on a north-facing slope and features roughly 3,000 taps. Installed in the winter of 2012, our thirty-five-acre sugarbush is easily accessible and managed by our staff and apprentices.

For sixty years we’ve been producing maple syrup at Merck. Equipment and techniques used may have evolved, but our commitment to  demonstrate “best practices” in producing  Vermont’s iconic product remains constant.

Sugarbush Schedule:

No two seasons are alike, but here’s a general idea of what maple-related activities you can expect while visiting through the year. 

This is the exciting time of year! As nighttime temperatures plunge and daytime temps go above freezing, the sap begins to run.

Staff members run the wood-fired evaporator to boil off excess water, in shifts around the clock. 

Please call for the current boiling schedule.

  • Sugaring & vacuum lines are repaired and cleaned throughout the 250 acre Sugarbush.
  • Downed limbs are removed from the lines.
  • Tree health is evaluated.
  • Cordwood is processed throughout the property and stacked at the Sap House.
  • Taps are installed in the trees.
  • Equipment is cleaned & prepared for the boil.

Sugarbush Schedule:

No two seasons are alike, but here’s a general idea of what maple-related activities you can expect while visiting through the year. Please contact us for additional information.

This is the exciting time of year! As nighttime temperatures plunge and daytime temps go above freezing, the sap begins to run.

In shifts, staff run the wood-fired evaporator to boil off excess water around the clock. 

Please call for the current boiling schedule.

  • Sugaring & vacuum lines are repaired and cleaned throughout the 250 acre Sugarbush.
  • Downed limbs are removed from the lines.
  • Tree health is evaluated.
  • Cordwood is processed throughout the property and stacked at the Sap House.
  • Taps are installed in the trees.
  • Equipment is cleaned & prepared for the boil.

Hunting

All of the hunting on Merck Forest and Farmland Center property is done in accordance with Vermont Hunting Laws and MFFC land use practices and programming needs.

Please remember that hunting on MFFC property is a privilege, NOT a right.

75% of MFFC’s 3,200 acres are open to hunting and are most easily accessed through the South Gate Entrance. Please note the zone highlighted in the map below is a hunting-free-zone: hunting or discharging a firearm is prohibited.

Regulations:

Hunters should be familiar with the rules and guidelines:

    1. Hunters are required to be aware of the MFFC Hunting Safety Zone and hunt outside of the zone’s boundaries.
    2. Hunters are required to sign the Hunter Registry at the Visitor Center or South Gate.
    3. All hunters, and hikers, are required to wear at least one article of blaze orange clothing during November’s rifle season.
    4. Handguns are prohibited on MFFC property.
    5. All trapping is prohibited because MFFC’s property is dog-friendly.
    6. Hunting stands may be erected between September 1st and December 15th, but must not be permanently attached (i.e. no nails, bolts, or screws may be used). Stands must be clearly identified with the user’s name, address, and phone number in accordance with Vermont Law and must be registered at the MFFC Visitor Center. Stands that are erected out of season, or without user-identification information, will be taken down.
    7. Hunting of these animals in season is permitted according to the schedule below.
    8. Weapons must be unloaded at all times when not in the Hunting Zone.

If you have questions about MFFC Hunting Rules and Guidelines, please contact us directly at (802)394-7836.

Acres Open for Hunting
  • Early Season 9/01 to 11/10/2017
  • Late Season 11/11 to 11/19/2017
  • Bow & Arrow Season: 10/7 to 11/3/2017 and 12/02 to 12/10/2017
  • Youth: 11/04-05/2017
  • Rifle Season (16-day regular season): 11/11 to 11/26/2017
  • Muzzle Loader Season: 12/02 to 12/10/2017
  • Bow & Arrow only: 10/07-20/2017
  • Shotgun or Bow & Arrow: 10/21 to 11/05/2017
  • 9/01 to 12/31/2017
  • 9/30 to 12/31/2017
  • From the onset of Bear season to the end of black powder season: 9/01 to 12/10/2017
Directions to South Gate Entrance
  • From the MFFC Visitor Center, turn left and head west on Route 315.
  • After 5 miles, turn left onto East Road which soon becomes Kent Hollow Road.
  • Go one mile, stay left at the Sandgate Road fork.
  • After one mile, turn left onto Hidden Valley Road just before a bridge. There is an old worn sign at the junction that says “Kent Hollow Rd →”
  • Travel 1.2 miles to the gate and park on the right.