by Taimur Ahmad and Paul Sanford, The Wilderness Society
As the owner of a woodland, you are likely familiar with the recreational value of forests, from hiking, to hunting and fishing, to just admiring Fall colors. State and national public lands offer people a chance to get outside and experience the benefits and beauty of nature – and by opening your woodland to recreation, you can as well.
Let’s be honest. No one wants to think about their own death. However, if we flip the thinking, we can focus on how we help our loved ones in that transition period. It is important to think about what will happen to your land in the future. After investing heart, soul (and probably money) in your property, doesn’t it make sense to plan for a transition of that property to the next generation or to an organization of your choice?
For us the decision to have a conservation easement on our forestland seemed like a no-brainer, but when we started analyzing all the aspects—-what we call all the “what-ifs”—-we knew we needed more time to make a decision. Once we took that time, we got all tangled in those possibilities. It was incredibly difficult to sort through emotions, thoughts, facts, and possibilities.
In a world where trees are competing with the Kardashians, Halo, Facetime, Angry Birds, constant texting, Facebook, YouTube, and on, and on, and on, it’s not hard to decipher why kids are not stimulated by the forest.
Debbie Clay shares her experience of managing her newly acquired woodlands.
Thirty miles down Highway 40, in southern Virginia, the land rolls gently with endless rows of emerald green crops. Billboards proclaim:
“Peanuts – whole sale and retail! Tourists welcome!”
“We’re not nuts, but we sell ‘em”
Aesthetics and recreation are two of the leading reasons woodland owners designate for why they own forested property. After talking with some local Oregon Women Owning Woodlands Network members it is obvious that recreation is an important element of forest ownership for them. They are out in the woods doing everything from horseback riding to plant identification.
As a woodland owner you are aware of the devastation your trees face from invasives, disease, and unplanned fire, among other threats.In an effort to tackle the most pressing threats to forest health, every state developed a Forest Action Plan.
My mom called our forestland in northern Idaho a “spot of paradise.” Mom was the first to point out a grand fir that might fall, to see a moose on the pasture, and to notice Western larch needles changing color. She passed away eight years ago, and we try to honor her by caring for our forestland. Since my brother and I live far away, all of the work falls on Dad.
Location: Taste of India, 2570 Cleveland Ave., St. Paul (Roseville); 651-631-1222
Topics: MyMinnesotaWoods and UMN Master Woodland Owner Program: http://mwop.umn.edu/. The Master Woodland Owner program delivers a comprehensive training curriculum for private woodland owners interested in becoming better stewards of their woods.
Many of us take family vacation in August. Some of us go to the beach while others prefer time in our woods. As you walk in your woods with your family, consider what do you love about your woods? Maybe it is a special grove of trees, the stream, a good bird watching/listening spot, or a tranquil spot. As you think of that special place, what do you want it to look like when your children or grandchildren inherit the land? A forester can help you write a forest management plan that meets your management goals and ensures your forest remains healthy.
by Jarrett Caston, US Forest Service Program Specialist
Ms. Rebecca Campbell is a woman in South Carolina who owns 36 acres of heirs’ property. Heirs’ property is land passed down without a will. Ms. Campbell didn’t know that she owned heirs’ property until after her mother’s death in 1998. In addition to Ms. Campbell, about 50 or more family members share ownership, as family heirs, with Ms. Campbell.