Timberland Management at W. D. Cowls, Inc.

Cowls owns and sustainably manages over 100 parcels of timberland in 30+ towns in Hampshire and Franklin Counties. All of Cowls timberland is enrolled in Massachusetts’ Chapter 61 land use program for forestland conservation. Through periodic harvesting, Cowls’ foresters sell low grade pulp and cord wood, saw logs and high quality veneer logs to regional processors. As the largest private landowner in Massachusetts, Cowls is committed to sustainably managing its timberland for the long term. The company regularly expands its land base by buying more timberland and enrolling it under Chapter 61.

 A founding member of the American Tree Farm System, Cowls has been Tree Farming for over 70 years. Cowls foresters adhere to the strict standards of the Tree Farm System which is the nation's oldest sustainable forestry and certification program. Cowls timberland is inspected periodically to ensure proper forest management. Multiple use, wildlife habitat, recreation, and watershed protection are important factors in managing the forests for timber production.   

Natural resource cultivation and management is our primary business. We allow - and in fact encourage – the public recreational enjoyment of our forests in Hampshire and Franklin Counties; however we regret that recent, inappropriate public activity on our land is now jeopardizing its continued public use.

Public use of Cowls’ private property comes with a Leave No Trace covenant. People we identify who are cutting down our trees; damaging our wetlands; taking any natural resources including but not limited to live or dead trees and plants, rocks and minerals; or dumping or leaving debris of any kind in our forests will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If you see any illegal activities taking place, please let us know. These environmentally damaging acts are contrary to our stewardship plans and they threaten our green certification status. Violators are also jeopardizing future public use of hundreds of skid roads on thousands of acres of forest land throughout the region.  

We have been honored to have been able to share our land with you for appropriate uses over the past decades and in some cases centuries; however we cannot afford to leave these properties open to public use if the value and integrity of our family business is diminished. 

Please see recent article in  the Daily Hampshire Gazette addressing this issue. 


For more information on the public use of Cowls land please see our policy document

For additional information contact the Forestry Department:

Shane Bajnoci, Vice President of Forest Operations         
forestry@cowls.com  or  413-549-1403 x333