Pasture Restoration Project near Asheville NC
When Alex Tiberi and his wife Claire bought 28 acres along the French Broad River in Alexander in North Carolina in 2004 they knew the pasture restoration would require significant work.
Half of the property had been abandoned in the early 1980’s and was covered in Virginia Pines and virtually inaccessible. The initial goal was to remove the pine for pulp, mulch the stumps and crowns for erosion control and pasture, and install a finish-quality road at a comfortable grade along the steep NW facing portion of the property. During the initial mapping phase of the project it was determined that a strong likelihood of encountering dense rock existed so the road layout was carefully threaded between subsoil rock formations.
Forestry Mulching Equipment Arrives
In May of 2009 we began rough cutting the road for pulp removal.
By the end of the second week, with our logging crew opening up significant workable space, a Fecon FTX140 and an ASV Positrac with a knife head were working full time to process crowns and stumps to create a thick mulch layer on the upper portions of the mountain. In addition, we were able to keep the muddy staging area workable by mulching crowns in layers to provide tractable footing for the logging trucks. By the third week a ground crew was busy removing woody vegetation and old wire fencing on areas determined unreachable by machine. In addition, drilling and expansion material (Dexpan) was required to remove dense rock for drainage accommodation at the entrance where the new road connected with the paved driveway. Due to our proximity to another residence as well as the existing road surface, dynamite and excavator hammers were ruled out.
As we neared completion of the pulp harvest we began to concentrate on the road work. We bermed the outside edge of the road along the compacted fill slope for safety. We cut access points for future watershed and vegetation management and installed drainage fabric in correctly sized culverts at intervals along the road length. We also had enough large rock from our initial grading and rock demolition to install a sturdy and attractive retaining wall along the entrance at no additional charge.
As we approached the final phase we winched unsightly and damaged trees from below the fill slope, raked the road banks with a chain harrow, and placed seed mat and check dams in the in-slope ditch. We were now ready for hydro-seed and gravel. In a rare stroke of cooperation the weather held allowing us to fully surface, motor grade and hydro-seed in just four days.
A week later the entire pasture restoration mulching above was completed as well as additional grading to remove the undesirable drainage effects of an old logging road along the steepest portions of the mountain. With the project complete, and long-distance as well as spectacular river views opened up along the top third of the mountain, the Tiberi’s were ready for fencing.
P.S. And just when we thought we were done, Alex moved us to the other side of the property to construct a Kassai Hungarian horseback archery course…….but that’s another chapter.