Forest Trail

Get a free Forest Stewardship Plan

Are you having problems figuring out what steps you need to take with your woodland to get what you want out of it? Well then, have we got the deal for you!” We are starting a new project called Wisconsin Stewardship Plan Project (WSPP) to help you get a forest stewardship plan for your woodlands. A forest stewardship plan describes your property, assesses your forest resources, identifies your goals, and outlines activities to reach those goals over the next 10-25 years. To be eligible for a free plan, this must be your first management plan for your property, lands currently or previously enrolled in MFL or have had a stewardship plan are not eligible. You also must have between 10-500 contiguous acres of woodland in Wisconsin. 

Why get a forest stewardship plan? Here are some reasons why it is valuable to have a plan for your property.  

  • First, it provides step by step guidance on addressing your priorities or issues you may have with your woodlands, including things like attracting wildlife, preserving the land for future generations, removing invasive species, sustainably harvesting and more.  
  • Second, it makes you eligible for cost-sharing programs offered at the state and federal level to help pay for stewardship and conservation activities. 
  • Third, the plan helps you communicate your motivations and objectives for your woodlands to your family.  
  • Lastly, the plan helps you become a better steward of your woodlands. It lets you share your plan with natural resource professionals like foresters and loggers. By following and sharing your plan, you can improve your property’s forest health. 

If you are a landowner and would like to get a plan for your woodland, the first step is to visit our website to learn more about the program and apply. If you are eligible, we will connect you with a Cooperating Forester to help you get a plan. After registering, the forester will reach out to you, walk your woodland with you, discuss your goals for your property, and write up a plan for the next 10-25 years. The plan will include a timeline for achieving your goals and next steps. 

We are working with Cooperating Foresters from across the state to help with this new initiative. A Cooperating Forester is a private sector forester who has agreed to adhere to the principles of sound forestry and implement sustainable forestry practices in line with the Wisconsin DNR. Once a forester has written your plan, WSPP provides payment to the forester for the written plan. 

Getting a Forest Stewardship Plan is not the end! As soon as you have your written plan, you will be ready to start implementing the management practices in your woodland. But you do not need to do that alone! Your Cooperating Forester is a great resource, and you can find support and funding from state or federal agencies. If you are interested in applying for WFLGP (Wisconsin Forest Landowner Grant Program) assistance, reach out to your DNR county forester, or for NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Services) assistance, contact your county USDA service center. These are both programs you can apply for to help pay for some management and conservation activities on your land. Our website also has some great resources on different management techniques.  

The Wisconsin Stewardship Plan Project is a collaboration between UW Extension forestry team and the Wisconsin DNR. The project is grant funded through the USDA forest service.