If you’re new to forest land ownership, you probably have many questions about how you can use your land, including the best ways to pursue forest recreation activities. While our focus as a business is on logging and related activities, most loggers get into our line of work because we love spending time outdoors in nature.  We decided to take some time in this blog to point out the many ways in which you can enjoy the great outdoors on your forested land.

What Is Forest Recreation?

Technically anything that you do for fun in a forest counts as forest recreation, but there are several iconic activities that we all tend to think of when it comes to enjoying leisure time in forests. These traditional activities are often cherished childhood memories, but there’s no reason not to enjoy them again in the present.

Hiking Through Forest

Hiking is one of the easiest forest recreation activities to get started with. However, hiking a well-established trail and hiking through unmanaged forests are very different activities.  While hiking a trail, you are essentially walking on a primitive, narrow road with wilderness on either side.  When you’re walking through a forest, you’re navigating that wilderness.

If you’re new to your forestland, you should take some appropriate precautions and some basic hiking equipment to ensure your little adventure will be more fun than challenging. 

First, there are some basic safety precautions to consider if you plan to be out for more than half an hour.

  • Tell someone you’re heading out, or go with a friend or family member
  • Bring a fully charged phone with strong reception and GPS signal, if possible
  • Carry water and some food, even if you don’t think you’ll need it
  • Depending on how extensive the land is, you may want to bring a first aid kit, flashlight, and other helpful items in case you have an accident or get lost

Also, you should consider acquiring the following pieces of hiking equipment before exploring your land on foot: 

  • Sturdy Hiking Boots – protective hiking boots will help you prevent injury from uneven terrain and obstacles, provide ankle support, and keep your feet and ankles safe from the undergrowth
  • Long Tear Resistant Pants – protecting your legs from the many scraping branches and thorns of wild undergrowth is essential for cutting through unbroken terrain
  • A Reliable Backpack – Especially if you’re bringing some food, water, and extra precautionary items like a first aid kit or flashlight, a backpack makes traveling prepared significantly easier

While hiking is a safe pastime and a great way to enjoy your forested land, until you’re familiar with your land, it’s better to err on the side of caution and be a little over-prepared.  Needless to say, once you know your land well, there’s little reason to kit yourself out extensively.  Most landowners walking their land will bring just casual outerwear, a bottle of water, and their phone and are perfectly safe doing so.

Mountain and Dirt Biking Through Your Woods

Unlike hiking, it’s really not wise to take your mountain or dirt biking entirely off-trail in forest environments.  The same goes for ATVs, despite their namesake.  Roots, rocks, bodies of water, tree trunks & branches, and various other hazards make navigating unbroken woods rather dangerous on any type of vehicle.  However, once you have established a solid trail, it can be incredibly fun.

Even if you’re biking a known trail under good conditions, remember to take appropriate precautions.  Protect yourself with appropriate outerwear, a helmet, and additional pads as needed in case you run into unexpected obstacles or slick terrain and wipe out.  Even the pros take a tumble every now and then. It’s much better to take the fall and get right back up thanks to proper equipment than to find yourself scraped up alone in the woods.

Camping On Your Land

If you were ever a scout, you probably appreciate both how fun and how challenging camping can be.  As a proud new forest landowner, you have the convenience and expedience of being close to home even if you decide to camp in your woods overnight.  As fun as camping can be, being able to take a shower in the morning makes it a lot more enjoyable. Even if you own a forest plot without a house on it, there are advantages to owning the land you want to camp on (like a lack of camping site fees!).