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Does New Large Private Landownership and Their Management Priorities Influence Public Access in the Northern Forest?

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The Northern Forest spans New York and three New England states and contains over 26 million ac, making it the largest contiguous forest east of the Mississippi. Most of the forestland is privately owned and public access to private land is a time-honored tradition in the region. Residents fear this tradition of open access may be threatened by recent acceleration in land tenure change across the region. We surveyed those who own 1,000 ac or more in the four-state region and found that newer owners were not more likely to post their land. There was, however, a correlation between the owner's land-management priorities and recreational activities permitted on the parcel. Results indicated that timber/forest product companies and Real Estate Investment Trusts allowed more public access for traditional wildlife activities such as hunting and fishing, as well as trail-riding activities such as snowmobiling and all-terrain vehicle riding, than landowners managing for recreation or for nature conservation. Results also indicated that new landowners in the Northern Forest currently maintain the tradition of free public access to their lands.

Keywords: industrial private forests; land tenure; landowner motivation; outdoor recreation; private forest landowners; recreational access

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
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