Walking in your woods: What to look for?

As a landowner, one of the best regular activities you can do for the health of your woods is to take a walk through it and observe what is going on.  We recommend taking walks at least every season as you can see different things at different times of the year.  For example, in the winter you might be able to see more of your land from the trails as there is less underbrush and your trees might have lost their leaves.  Then in the summer, you might be able to see damage from pests or disease on individual trees.  We have come up with a checklist for you when you are out on your land. 

Checklist on what to look for when out walking your land

All seasons

    • Signs for downed or damaged trees that can be a safety issue
    • Check the access points on your land. Do you have gates at your entrances? Are they in good working order?
    • Always keep an eye out for signs of trespassers. Look for any damage to your trails/trees, illegal dumping, or other signs of people using your land without your permission. 
    • Check your trails and roads to make sure they are in good working order. Look for downed trees or signs of soil erosion.   
    • Signs that animals are sheltering in your woods (look for snags, downed logs and brushpiles): be sure to protect these areas from activities you might do on your land.  Consider flagging them and marking them on your MyLandPlan.org map so you and those out on your land know not to remove that snag, downed log or brushpile. 
    • Document any damage to your woods from wildfires, windstorms, drought, floods, or tornadoes.


    • Location of vernal pools (aka ephemeral ponds)
    • Damage from ice or wind storms


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