About Us

Forest Trail

The firm consists of professional foresters approved to practice by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.  Organized in the late 1970’s, the firm uses science-based forest management to serve more than 750 woodland owners, including families, major corporations, and non-profit organizations.  Together, they own over 34,000 acres of woodland which benefit from proper management and environmental care. 

Helping people comply with New Jersey’s farmland assessment law and regulations forms the backbone of our practice.  The property tax laws of New Jersey are designed to encourage the retention of privately owned open space.  Significant tax savings may result.  To accomplish this, a full range of services are provided.  Management plans are prepared, thinnings are planned, and timber is harvested judiciously with attractive financial returns to the client.  Above all, improvement of property values, wildlife, aesthetics, and environmental protection are central in all work.

Through active participation in many forestry and environmental organizations and programs, the firm keeps abreast of current conditions and developments.  Close contact with government officials keeps the firm up to date on laws, regulations, and policies.  Professional enhancement is ongoing through active participation in continuing education programs in forestry, and other related conservation and natural resource subjects.

What does it all cost?  In a true sense, often nothing at all.  Usually the driving issue is how much we can save for our clients.  Initial consultations are often free of charge.  Surprisingly modest fees are charged for long range management plans and implementation.


Heather J. Gracie-Petty, CF, President, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource/Forest Management from Cook College, Rutgers University, 1984.  She has served on the Executive Committee of the New Jersey Division of the Society of American Foresters since 1988.  She is a Certified Forester (CF) through the Society of American Foresters.  For her ongoing accomplishments in continuing education and professional practice, she has been awarded the Bronze and Silver Hard Hat Awards by the American Forest Foundation for her active participation in the New Jersey Tree Farm Program.  In 2001, she was awarded the Silas B. Little Award for her longtime service to the New Jersey Division of the Society of American Foresters.  She serves as a trustee of the Upper Raritan Watershed Association, where she serves as Stewardship committee chair.  She is also an active participant with the Central Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team.  She is owner of a Certified Tree Farm and Christmas tree farm in New Hampshire.


Christina Harrigan, CF, Vice-President, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource/Forest Management and Applied Ecology from Rutgers University, 1989.  She served on the Executive Committee of the New Jersey Division of the Society of American Foresters for more than seven years, and held several offices including Vice Chair.  She was twice awarded the Certificate of Continuing Forestry Education Accomplishment by the Society of American Foresters, and has achieved Certified Forester (CF) status for ongoing accomplishments in continuing education and professional practice.  She was also awarded the Bronze Hard Hat and the Silver Hard Hat Awards by the American Forest Foundation for her active participation in the New Jersey Tree Farm Program.  She has served on the NJ Highlands Council’s Sustainable Forestry Technical Advisory Committee, and on the NJ Forestry Association’s Highlands Advisory Committee.


Steve Kallesser, CF, Senior Associate Forester, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Management, and Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Rutgers University, where he graduated with high honors in 1999.  In 2005, he achieved Certified Forester (CF) status for his ongoing accomplishments in continuing education and professional practice. He began working with the firm in 1999 as a Student Associate.  He was the Secretary for the New Jersey Division of the Society of American Foresters.  An active volunteer with the Boy Scouts, he is currently Conservation Chairman for the Northern New Jersey Council.  He has served on the NJ Farm Bureau Highlands Advisory Committee as well as the NJ Forestry Association’s Highlands Advisory Committee.  In 2008, he was named Forester of the Year by the Allegheny Society of American Foresters, which serves a five-state area.

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Benefits

Practicing sustainable forestry  works to:

  • Protect water quality
  • Increase water yield
  • Promote forest health
  • Restore damaged forest ecosystems
  • Promote wildlife through the creation of habitat
  • Yield renewable forest products