First steps in woodlands management
I consider myself very fortunate to be a property owner. Twenty-two acres might not seem like much to some, but it is a world of its own to others. For me, it is a place I’ve trampled nearly my entire life and part of a bigger piece of ground that has been in the family since the 19th Century.
The woods surrounding my home in the southeastern Adirondacks are the same woods I roamed with a BB gun as an adolescent explorer. In my teens, I hunted mostly small game there, and today I archery hunt there for deer. Mostly, I just work in the woods, cutting firewood and enjoy leisurely walks on the trails and to the beaver pond that sits in the middle of it.
When I first acquired the land from my uncle in the late 1990s, it was primarily a young forest. My uncle had extensively logged the property in the 1970s, and again in 1987. Over time that forest has aged, and about 10 years ago, I walked the property with a forester, who told me to give it some more time before I considered a logging operation.
In my mind, that time has come. I’m certainly no forester, but in the past few years, especially during hunting season, I’ve spent more time looking up at trees than I have out into the surrounding woodlands. Most importantly, I have personal goals in mind for this property, and if I wait too much longer, I’ll be an old man before I get a chance to realize them.
Along with making observations on my woodlot, I’ve been doing some research, talking with loggers and others with knowledge about forestry practices. When it comes to timber harvesting, different folks have different desires, and I have my own. So I want to be informed.
My main goal is that I want this forest to be healthy, not only for the remainder of my lifetime, but for the next person who becomes a steward of this land, which will likely be a family member. I don’t want to lose money on the timber harvest, but I’m not solely out to make a dollar.
Therefore, this first major harvest under my watch will come at the advice of the forester on what to cut to ensure the health of the forest, along with some ideas I have in mind to set up the property to my liking. A healthy forest should certainly benefit wildlife. On top of that, I’m anticipating nice trails for future access. With the cut I also expect some firewood and wood chips for landscaping.
I recently joined an organization called the New York Forest Owners Association. I’ve attended their functions in the past and have relied on them as a source for articles. I’ve found these people to be wealth of knowledge and very forthcoming with solid advice.
Recently, a gentleman from the regional NYFOA chapter paid me a visit. We spent a nice afternoon walking my property, where he answered numerous questions about how to go about achieving my woodland goals.
These are just the first steps in what I hope is a rewarding and educational experience. And one that I’ll be sure to share in this blog as it progresses. Stay tuned.