Have you been out in the woods lately? If so, you are lucky the mosquitoes and flies haven’t carried you away. With all the rain we’ve had this year, we have breeding grounds everywhere. On top of that, there was news this past week of both a bird testing positive with West Nile in Marathon County, and the discovery of a species of mosquito that is capable of carrying Zika in Dane County. I realize that this is an absolutely terrible way to start an article that is supposed to encourage you to get outdoors.
Summer is here! Well, according to the calendar anyway. I haven’t seen the sun in more days than I care to count. As I write this, Memorial Day is just around the corner, and it is a great time for me to talk about the health of your woods. Lots of people will be on the road, heading up to their cabins/woodland, so let’s talk about a few things you should think about this summer.
Spring is in the air. Although, after the snow this week, I think winter is still holding on. I’m starting to believe the saying “snow falls on a robin three times”. We had beautiful weather this past weekend though, and I was able to get out in the woods for a good tromp. I immediately saw a little green, only to realize that it was the dreaded honeysuckle starting to leaf out. Then on Monday, a colleague shared a resource with me related to that honeysuckle… which makes the perfect segue into this month’s blog post: using your phone in the woods.
As a new landowner, or one who has just recently decided to invest more time in their woods, there are all kinds of questions and decisions that are put in front of you. Owning woods is no different than owning a car and having to take it to a mechanic for help; there can be a steep learning curve and some things you never want to have to do yourself. Luckily, there are some ready-made people resources out there who have knowledge and experience they are willing to share.
It’s the start of a new year, and with that comes tax time. That property tax bill probably arrived in December, and as a woodland owner you are potentially facing a larger bill than is comfortable. Many states have realized the importance of family owned woodlands for clean air and water and good paying jobs, and offer landowners incentives to manage their woods. In Wisconsin, this comes in the form of a program that reduces your tax burden in exchange for actively managing your land. The program is called Managed Forest Law, or commonly called MFL for short.