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Land management questions

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  • #46
    If the local ecosystem on the property is healthy, with some initial investment you might also be able to make some money off the land via something like Hip Camp. I'm not sure what the market is for hipster-oriented camping at locations without potable water or electricity on site, however.

    But people also love pine forests, and if you took care during the initial thinning effort to ensure that it was done in an aesthetically pleasing manner, then you might find some interest in weekend use for a canvas wall tent on a wooden platform situated within the pine stand.

    Probably also depends somewhat on what amenities are in the geographic vicinity. If it were within 30+ minutes drive time of a city with decent tourist attractions like Ithaca, for example, you'd probably find more of a potential camping market.


    • #47
      You know, there's one right up the road from there...

      My dad had all sorts of ideas like that for the property - from driving range to campground, but I think it's a bit far off the beaten path for that (the other one has fantastic views).

      I've though of using it for my own personal recreation i.e. building ski and bike trails, but the wetlands make it a real PITA. We used to have bridges to cross but when the beavers are full tilt, we have to use a boat. The west side has he least wetland but it still needs some kind of boardwalk for that - there's some deep muck to contend with. There's also an old logging road there that goes up the west side of the property that could either be recut or turned to trail. I don't know the exact history there, but I bet that's 50+ years old.

      I'm actually excited to let it sit and see if I can get some hardwoods to come in. Other than clearing the current trees, that sounds fun to me.

      I'm not sure if we should log the sugarbush - the balance of trees are oaks and cherry, which perhaps the red oaks will be ready to harvest soon. I'd kind of like to have it horse logged if it was, even though I won't make much or anything, but I don't know anyone out there that does it.

      I'm sure we should take some pines, and probably will need that to meet the 10 year production requirement, although because they were logged 25 years ago and the wetland restriction, we'd probably only be able to take a few. Which, for me, I'm all for the least amount of logging possible and meeting the 480a requirements.


      • #48
        And thanks for all the feedback and suggestions!


        • #49
          Originally posted by DSettahr View Post
          If the local ecosystem on the property is healthy, with some initial investment you might also be able to make some money off the land via something like Hip Camp.
          You know - I thought this not feasible or something I'd even consider, but I was bored the other night so I did some digging...

          I found this place, not far away -

          and I got to thinking... there's 30 acres of hillside there with 250' of elevation gain, would it be possible to put a cabin up at the high point?

          I think so - actually. And it might have a pretty darn good view if a good portion of the hillside were cleared.

          There's also the question of a road up there. An old logging road exists but even at its best, it was tough to get a tractor up there. An ATV would have been OK I think.

          I did some estimates and I think clearing some acreage up there would offset the cost of building road, and also give you the view.

          And I think there might be enough timber value on the lower slopes for a selective harvest to cover the cost of building a cabin up there. Maybe a couple depending on how you build them.

          I think running electric up there might be prohibitive but siting a house with mainly southern roof exposure up there wouldn't be hard, meaning it could get great solar.

          The road would be about half mile back to the upper corner. We left a situation like that to move here - meaning I lived on a long forest road for the first part of my life. It was a challenge, especially in spring. I think UTV or snow machine access might be best in the cooler months. Or just hike or ski in.

          For a "weekend" use or rental place, I think that might be acceptable. And with a great view, and solitude, it might be a viable business.

          I did the calcs and it could still do this and put the rest of the forested land under 480a to relieve some taxes, and keep timber management as an income source.

          I don't think it's completely out to lunch... not sure I'm going to do it, but it's not a half bad idea...


          • #50
            I found this excellent tool the other day, and how to use it:


            (click the green button)

            one interesting thing here to people doing some kind of forest management is the site index (SI).

            I found it amazingly accurate - for instance I looked at my southern FLR land as shown earlier, and the all the land that was cleared for Ag, fall under two specific soil types, and both were the only ones that had any kind of decent agricultural value.

            In those areas, sugar maple and red oak have the highest SI - so I imagine they would have been the dominant species before clearing for crops. White pine also has a very high site index and explains why they colonize so well. I imagine that area would have been sugar maple/red oak with dotted white pine (makes sense from what was used for construction of the initial homestead).

            Of the 30 acres of hillside, the SI show the most favorable numbers for black cherry and red oak, with maple being on the lower end (that's predominantly what is there). I was able to find a sat image of leaf out, and I could pretty clearly see where the maples were (without actually whacking around the whole lot). They seen to dominate small, more localized sections (small - 1/2 to 1 acres blocks). Not sure if that's an artifact from past land management or just better sites.

            The lowlands consist of a poorly drained soil, which leads to the wetlands. Some are not technically classified as wetland, but remain pretty mushy through much of the year. Red maple has the highest (and only) SI listed. I don't recall what is there, but I'd imagine due to seasonal dampness something that could handle some water. White pine are dotter throughout there, but there was no SI given - they grow, but perhaps not very well.

            There was one other soil that had an index listed for beech and ash, which as I recall was one area we used to go for firewood when I was a kid. This being right at the bottom of the slope between the wetter soils. Certainly any prospect for ash is going to be a poor one. Luckily that was a very small area (~1 acre).

            I'm not entirely sure what all this means for land management planning, but it does tend to tell me promoting the hill for maples is not the most efficient use of the land. But I think with a tube sap harvest, I'd imagine having a hill site is advantageous. Even though the maples would be valuable timber, I'd imagine you could get better production with oak and cherry.

            I knew sugar maples grew well in the lowland soils - we have some monsters around the house. It would be great if we could get some of those back in the fields. I'm not sure they would be the best/easiest to tap but they'd probably be the most valuable in terms of timber (in another 130 years!). Maybe oaks will come in down there as well. I tend to wonder if it would be worth seeding some and see how they come up.


            • #51
              If you can get your hands on an old printed copy of the soil survey for your area (they used to make them for many counties), they are also a wealth of information. The websoil survey is a good tool, but sometimes info gleaned from the original surveys is omitted


              • #52
                Thanks St. Regis - I'll keep an eye out for those.

                Here's an example of site index maps (a measure of tree height at a specific time interval).

                Red is lowest, then green, then blue. It's a relative grading on the map for each species. Grey is no data.

                Order of maps is:

                Back Cherry SI
                Sugar Maple SI
                Red Oak SI
                White Pine SI
                Attached Files


                • #53
                  This honestly looks like a fun project to do on my land...


                  There are 4 of those, but this last one covers all the previous, just in less detail.

                  I'm not sure I could find a horse team, but I could likely accomplish this same thing with an ATV, although perhaps not skidding in winter.


                  • #54
                    You won't do that with an ATV


                    • #55
                      Which parts?


                      • #56
                        You could probably do some work with an ATV, and with an arch a little more. But that would still be a lot of wear and tear on a machine that isn't intended to be used as a saws log skidder. A tractor would probably serve you much better. Steep slopes...let a professional take care of that


                        • #57
                          I was wondering if a small tractor would be a better tool.

                          If you had a road, how bad would it be to winch logs up to the road to be skidded?

                          Honestly I've seen a lot of promotion for ATV skidding on small lots. An arch would definitely be a tool to use if you had a road burned in, but again, I wonder about using a winch to pull the logs up to a road, then skidding them down that way.

                          BTW this is all curiosity, I'd likely never do any of this myself.