Robert Manning and his wife of 51 years Tomoko own 229 acres of wooded property in Johnsburg, NY. The couple lives in Garnet Lake 11 miles from their wooded property. Manning is a retired science teacher and graduated from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 1957 with a degree in Forestry. Since retiring, Manning is happy to be actively involved in forestry again both through owning his woodlands as well as with NYFOA. Manning is currently the chapter Treasurer of the Southern Adirondack Chapter and served two years as Vice-chair and two years as Chair. He is also a NY Master Forester Owner Volunteer.

Manning met his wife while serving with the Navy in Japan. Later as a Department of Defense civilian he taught for 29 years on two different military bases in Japan. One of the benefits of his teaching career in Japan was the freedom to return to the United States in the summer. The couple flew back to NY each summer, free of charge because of his position, and moved back in 1997 to Johnsburg. As a skier Manning was particularly interested in living in the Adirondacks. It wasn’t until 2005 that Manning found the forested property that they now own, located on the top of Oven Mountain, which overlooks the Gore Mountain Ski Area in North Creek, NY. Manning had snowshoed the property before he knew it was for sale while looking for a good place to photograph Gore Mountain. The property was at one point owned by International Paper Company and then sold, was logged heavily 20 years ago and then bought by someone who wanted to develop it. The plans called for subdividing the property but fell through for several reasons. The main reason being accessibility that affects Manning’s use of the property today. The access road is private and crosses through many other private properties and also had no power lines.

Manning manages the completely forested property along with consulting forester, Steve Warne. Most of the forest is northern hardwood type. The elevation of the property affects the quality of the forest. The higher quality trees occur at the lower elevations. The mountaintop also poses what Manning acknowledges as their largest problem for management, blow down due to wind. Much of the regeneration in areas of higher elevation is of low value species such as striped maple. Deer browsing also hinders maple and oak regeneration. He spends a significant amount of time each year clearing the trails as well as marking boundaries. The Manning’s heat their house on Garnet Lake during the colder months using a woodstove powered by firewood harvested from their woodlands.

As far as management is concerned Steve Warne has marked out 60 acres of the lower property for an improvement cut spurred by birch trees on the southern slope of the mountain that are beginning to die due to age. Manning is concerned with finding a logger for the job due to the mainly low quality of the marked timber.

Manning also considers the fate of his property. The couple has three sons and the closest lives in Boston, MA. The Manning’s other two sons along with their four grandchildren live in Colorado and California. Only his son from Boston has been involved with the woodlands because he lives the closest. The owners of the property around Manning’s land recently completed a large logging job and with permission from Manning cleared a logging road across the corner of Manning’s lot. The positive part of this logging operation’s use of his property is the improvement to the private road used to access the property.

What Manning enjoys most about his property is the opportunity to take family and friends hiking up Oven Mountain. He cleared some of the trees at the summit to increase the view. He especially enjoys showing them some of the historical elements of his property. There is also an old garnet mine that now mainly looks like a pile of rocks but you can still find the occasional garnet (a mineral and gemstone). Old maple sugar pails indicate a maple sugaring operation occurred in the 1930’s. Oven Mountain has three peaks and between the peaks there is a large vernal pool. Manning recommends that other woodland owners find a good forester but also learn as much as they can about their land and enjoy it.

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