Jim Karl, a retired pipefitter from Local 112 in Binghamton, NY, and his wife Linda have owned their woodlands in East Guilford, NY for 40 years. His father initially purchased the land and used it as a way to escape from his work in business. Jim and Linda also enjoyed the property and ultimately decided to buy it from him. About half of the 200-acre property was previously farmed and the other half is in woodland.

The property’s has about 50 acres of the land in open fields. Jim worked with his neighbor, a dairy farmer, to restore a 20-acre hay field, which his neighbor harvests. Jim has also created many areas of open brush land to encourage wildlife especially grouse, rabbits and deer. He has been working to thin the woodlands to encourage the regeneration of trees. He was involved in a DEC program which taught him the importance of releasing wild apple trees. He enjoys seeing these trees flourish and bear fruit.

Most of the woodlands consist of red maple, red oak, some cherry and, as Jim describes it, “too much beech.” Jim had timber stand improvement work done on the woodlands and also sold some saw timber. The wind and rain of September 2011 knocked down many of the trees and required extensive clean up so the Karl’s do not anticipate removing any more trees in the near future. Jim would like to encourage regeneration through his management practices. Now that both Linda and Jim are retired they enjoy working in the woods together to improve their property.

Jim and Linda live on their property in a house they built overlooking Guilford Creek, which runs through their land. This is actually the second house they built on the property, the first they sold to their son, also Jim, who now lives there with his family. Father and son enjoy working in the woods and cut firewood, which they use to heat their homes. The family enjoys hiking and hunting on the property as well as snowshoeing and cross country skiing, when there is snow. About fifteen years ago they planted Christmas trees, which they harvest for their own use. Jim hopes his son and grandchildren will carry on his legacy of caring for and improving the land.

Jim is a Master Forest Owner volunteer and it was at that training where he learned about using herbicides on beech stumps after cutting them. He has experimented with the technique on a large beech tree near a cabin on the property and is pleased with the result. Jim is also a member of the New York Forest Owners Association (NYFOA) and enjoys learning from the articles in the magazine and attending the seminars hosted by the organization. He recommends that all forest owners join NYFOA, a much-needed organization in New York. He also uses Cornell Cooperative Extension as a resource for information and expertise.

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