Why should I participate in the timber contest?
It’s fun! Challenges are a way to focus the mind to achieve a desirable outcome. Being in your woods with your family in all four seasons is rewarding and increasing the volume and quality of timber in your woodlands increases the value of your asset. Your forest is part of your legacy and you’ll want to leave your heirs or future owners with healthy and productive timberland. In the bigger picture, private landowners play a crucial role in the overall health of the northeastern forest, since they dominate forest ownership.
How does the timber contest work?
Using the rules, family forest owners may team-up with forestry professionals to take an active role in growing timber volume. Timber stand improvement, site enhancement, and the providing of water and nutrients are some of the tools that might be used to increase productivity and timber quality. Area and volume measurements are taken at two points in time. Seedling counts are also taken for those interested in advanced forest regeneration. These measurements are adjusted to account for differences in soil quality. The contest has many winners over time consistent with the rules and has no end date; it is expected to continue in perpetuity.
What do the winners win?
There will be certificates, written articles, news stories, and numerous other forms of “bragging rights” conferred. Most importantly, all participants will “win” the enjoyment of being with their families and friends in the outdoors doing something special for their woodlands.
Is there a cost to participate in the timber contest?
There are no direct costs to participate in the contest. However, the landowner will need to work with a forester on one of the three contest categories, if they choose to enter that category. A private-sector forester may charge for their assistance. Also, the landowner may decide to hire professionals to help with any work. Any costs are the responsibility of the contestant. Some aspects of the contest may require professional forestry assistance, from either public or private sector foresters.
How much land must I own to enter?
The goals and objectives envision a forest environment. There is no minimum acreage other than the acreage needed to install measurement plots. For those that want to participate but do not own eligible forest land, they may join a team with an eligible landowner. Eligible landowners are described in the rules.
Do I need to place a minimum number of acres under management?
No. The rules allow for a minimum plot size of ¼ of an acre or twenty trees. The quality of the entry is paramount, not brute quantity.
What kinds of trees are eligible?
The rules allow for conifers and hardwoods. You may enter multiple times in the different categories.
Will I need to harvest my trees?
No. However, harvesting trees for firewood, timber, or non-commercial uses is often an important component of properly managed woodlands. You will want to discuss a harvesting schedule with your forester.
Do I need to hire a forester and have a written forest management plan?
No. However, a forester must be involved in one of the three contest categories (please see the rules for details). In some cases a public sector forester might be able to assist; otherwise the contestant will need to work with a private sector forester who would often charge for services. A management plan is not required to participate. Note, however, that both a forester and a management plan are advantageous for the long term viability of your woodlands.
Do I need to be a member of any organization?
No. But you’ll find that membership in your state’s forestry organization and extension service to be a source of continuous enjoyment!
Where can I find more information?
The contest has a website that is full of good information: www.TimberContest.com. If you submit woodland pictures, those will be included on the website.
Contest rules are described at the website. While they may sound “technical,” there are trained people in your area that can assist you in understanding how to participate and, most importantly, have fun!