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Sydney Antonio owns and manages 450 acres of woodlands in Greene County that her family has owned since 1959. Sydney, along with her husband Evon, own and reside on 37 acres of the parcel and 416 acres have been placed in a Family Limited Partnership and are jointly owned by Sydney and her brother James Wesley. Evon manages both parcels of land and works closely with their forester Brian Bower.
The story of the land coming into Sydney's hands speaks tremendously to her family's appreciation for the outdoors. Sydney's mother initially purchased the land because she (Sydney) didn't like camp. She recalls being sent to camp and disliking it to the extent that she hitchhiked home to Brooklyn. It was then that her maternal grandmother suggested that Sydney's mother purchase vacation property in the country, and that is what they did. The land will continue to be passed through the family. The Antonio's have a daughter and a granddaughter.
Sydney works with a certified forester and they work with a management plan that goes back to the mid 1990's. She also uses her mother's management plan and she has records going back to 1961. Although she tends to stick with the advice of her forester, she "tries to do her homework." Both Sydney and Evon are Master Forest Owner volunteers and managing the property is a family project.
The property itself has about 3-4 acres of non-forested land. The forests consists of in order of volume; hard maple, red oak, white ash, yellow birch, black cherry, and hemlock. They signed a contract earlier this year so there will be a harvest taking place soon. They are bordered in part by a New York State Forest so that gives them additional privacy buffer.
The couple uses the property for personal recreational use. They permit longtime family friends to hunt on the property but the couple enjoys walking in their woodlands. They use the logging roads for business purposes but the roads also allow for leisure and "seeing what is going on in the woods." The couple enjoys the bears on their property, although they don't encourage them. Sydney states "but they were here first" so the couple is happy to share the property. The property boasts a certified trout stream that is a branch of the Katterskill as well as an acre of pond that is stocked with trout and koi. Sydney reminisces, "I learned to ice skate on it, and so did my daughter."
"They're not making anymore land and if you have it you don't sell it. You take care of it the best you can." This advice from her paternal grandmother guides Sydney in managing her property into the future and represents one of the most important reasons she owns the property. That and the trees help keep the air clean. As far as the biggest success of her practices "it's the fact that you can have your cake and eat it too [in reference to timber harvests]. You keep your trees and your land and every now and then you get what I call milk money that you can use to buy a car or take a vacation."
Sydney's advice for other forest owners is to find a good forester, it's worth your time to locate one and it is in your advantage financially in the long run. Even though you can do your homework they still have the contacts. Further Sydney says "Trust, but verify." Even though you trust your forester, go out in the woods and walk with them.
PO Box 541 Lima, NY 14485
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