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The 193 acre parcel of forest land owned by Kurt Edwards has been in his family since 1887 when his great-great grandfather purchased the land. He inherited the land from his mother who, herself, had purchased 100 acres of the property from her grandfather and purchased the other 90 acres from another family member. Edwards lives on the property, located in Mayfield, NY, with his wife Kristie in a log home they built from hemlock trees harvested from their forest. Kurt and Kristie work together on many aspects of managing and caring for their property. Their son also lives on the property with his wife and two grandchildren. They have two other children and one grandchild. Edwards' brother lives on an additional 4-acre parcel and a cousin lived on a 3-acre parcel, which he recently sold, so the original family property once totaled an even 200 acres.
The woodlands were logged several times over the course of the years. Edwards' uncle was a professional logger. Now his goal is to further improve the stewardship of the woodlands and improve them for when they are passed on to his children. Previously, the property was farmland but now consists of 10-12 acres of open field with the remaining land forested with hemlock, maple, oak and beech trees. The management plan for the property was developed by the late Mike Greason and follows the 480-A program. The Edwards are currently working on eradicating the beech consistent with their management plan, as well as thinning certain stands. They plan to replant with black cherry or maple purchased from NYS Tree Farms. He has had great success with native oaks on the property.
The 480-A program has been very beneficial for the Edwards, especially when facing one of the greatest challenges, taxes. The Forest Tax Law provides a forest land tax exemption for enrolled owners.
The Edwards enjoy "the privacy and luxury" of hunting and hiking on the property as well as just sitting in the woods and enjoying the wildlife like fisher, deer, foxes, bears and song birds. However he also states, "My recreation is cutting wood. I enjoy it even though most people think I'm crazy. My brother enjoys it too. We cut our own firewood and I also cut firewood for my son." They also have large gardens on the property and this year they are looking into growing mushrooms and ginseng. Three streams run through the property, which allow for some fishing as well.
Kurt and Kristie are both Master Forest Owner Volunteers and also Chair NYFOA"s Southern Adirondack Chapter. As NYFOA members, Kurt and Kristie enjoy learning from other members and seeing others properties during woods walks. Kurt aims to promote forestry and sound management practices in any way he can. He also hopes to work through NYFOA to get better prices for timber products. He advises other forestland owners to join NYFOA in order to help each other learn about sound management and governmental policy. He is concerned with the development of forest and farmlands and looks into ways to slow this process down.
PO Box 541 Lima, NY 14485
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