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community supported forests?

 
Wesley johnsen
Posts: 88
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i thought of a great way to generate $$ to preserve some forest land and need other peoples opinions on this. i would run a crowdfunding campaign and any one that pays under $650 gets a great bumper sticker for a thank you with some great wording and any one that pays 650 or higher gets a 5 year membership to access a huge timberland/recreation property. this access will be a form of community supported forests where 650 or higher payment gives a person unlimited access to the land for 5 years. they can fish, hike, mountain bike, ski, atv, snow mobile, canoe, bird watch, and camp only through reservation that gives everyone a chance to camp and last they can collect spring water and also use for the day a shelter house. there will be a solar pumping water supply and small cottages and camping areas. also the land will one a year be shut down for 2 weeks to allow an annual timber sale. the proceeds from all this will go into keeping the land preserved and maintained along with acquiring more timberland. there will be a conservation easement put on the land as well once all the stuff is put together. do you think $650 for unlimited 5 year recreation seems fair like a great deal? all this in the name of preserving timberland. there will be some camp hosts and a few other people hired to manage the place. plus liability insurance in place. if you can think of any other ideas please let me know.
 
Will Meginley
Posts: 112
Location: Concord, New Hampshire
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food preservation forest garden hunting tiny house trees woodworking
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In theory, I see no reason why this wouldn't work. People have been doing it for years in the name of profit. Many hunting lodges and resorts fit your description. Heck, you could argue that state/national forests are community supported forests - albeit often grossly undersupported.

Whether or not it will work for you in practice would depend in large part on the specific land you have in mind. How big is the parcel? What recreational opportunities are available? Is it located near a big city where you have more opportunity to interest people in funding your campaign? Where is it in relation to other "public" lands? (If your property is right outside a national forest where people can do that stuff for free, why would they pay YOU for the privilege of doing it on your much smaller property?

Something else to consider: are you planning to limit access to only those that paid at least $650? Or will you offer the general public the opportunity to purchase day access? That can make a HUGE difference on how successful your kickstarter campaign will have to be in order for you to get the whole thing rolling. What happens at the end of five years? Do the members have the option of renewing, or do you become the sole authorized user of the land? If they have the option of renewing, what's so special about five years? Would you consider offering graduated amounts of access during the kickstarter campaign like $130 for one year, $260 for two, etc.? You might get more takers.

Are you a forester or will you have to hire one, either as a consultant or an employee? It takes more than two weeks to set up a timber sale, and depending on the logging method and size of the unit it may take longer than two weeks to carry it out. Depending on the size of the property you may be able to compartmentalize so you can keep most of it open for recreation even while a timber sale is taking place. (And if you can't, you probably don't have enough acreage to be doing a sale every year. Probably not even every decade.)

Just some thoughts. I'm sure others will have more.
 
Wesley johnsen
Posts: 88
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thanks for the reply and advice. i will offer a variety memberships and so on. does anyone have an idea of how much a campground gets campers like the amount a year or where i could find the statistics at? just dont want 50,000 people all trying to squeez in a 20 campsite campground a year. the camp will be low impact meaning that it will have no bulldozing to make campgrounds and most sites just a trail to get there. handicap friendly camping to. also add cottages as well.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1253
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Whoo boy. Maybe it's where I live but I'd expect a lot more than a sticker for $650.
 
Vera Stewart
Posts: 208
Location: 7b at 1050 feet, precipitation average 13 inches, irrigated, Okanagan Valley
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I'd think more like $20 and I get a sticker. After all, I'd be advertising for the project anywhere I took the sticker.

In terms of how many people swarm a campground, it really depends on where you're located and the season. I've camped in campgrounds where reservations are by draw a year in advance and jammed full, and I've camped in campgrounds where there have been two small camping groups and 20 empty sites.

Most (all?) national/provincial/state parks now have a reservation system, which is helpful in preventing 100 people showing up at the end of the day trying to get into 2 sites, but also, for me, takes away from the free spiritedness of a road trip. If you have to make a reservation, you have to get there on a certain date. If I ran a campground, I'd allow reservations for probably the greater percentage of sites, but always make sure that 20% or so were available for people who just find themselves there.

If this campground is going to be in your community supported forest, and there's a campground of 20 sites, I'd set aside half or three quarters to the members, and allow those sites to be reserved by the fully paid up members, and leave the rest to first-come-first-serve non-members or members who don't want to reserve, during whatever the "season" is. If your forest is somewhere with freezing weather in the winter, you should really be aware that most of the general public are not going to want to camp in the cold, and that a lot of government parks offer very cheap or free winter camping (with no services.) If you have no services in winter either, why should someone stay at your place instead of their place?

Also, are you allowing truck campers/RVs? As a sometimes truck camper, it's annoying to be told at some RV places that we're not welcome, since there are apparently laws in some places about trailers always having to be movable i.e. on wheels, and as most truck campers don't have all the self-contained services as RVs. So if your campground offered sites to truck campers but not RVs, I think that would be a selling point to disgruntled truck campers.
 
Jonathan Brandt
Posts: 7
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Nice idea. For me, a lot would be riding on what you mean by "timber sale." Typical logging practices are usually quite damaging to the watershed health. You need to be thinking 7 generations of community (if you're not already). Show me a plan for sustainable operation of a wood lot and I would tend to invest in the wood product. I'm not as interested in the recreation so much as the ecosystem services a healthy forest will provide. For more information check out:
http://www.nature.org/magazine/archives/beyond-the-timber-wars.xml
and
http://hylawoods.com/?page_id=73

good luck!
 
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