Forest Legacy

Division of Forestry


Big Woods Heritage

Small efforts add up to Big Woods

Owners of 20 acres or more of wooded land in Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, LeSueur, Rice, Scott, Sibley and Wright Counties, along with the eastern townships in Nicollet County, may be eligible to get help managing their property for wildlife habitat, forest conservation and other purposes by becoming part of the Big Woods Heritage Forest. Participation in the free program is voluntary and a landowner may withdraw at any time.

Stewardship plans

Participating landowners will receive a Big Woods Heritage Forest Stewardship Plan that suggests ways they can better take care of their land to achieve desired benefits while protecting soil, water, native vegetation and wildlife habitat.

Each plan, prepared by a professional forester, is customized for the individual property, describing its natural resources and recommending management possibilities based on the landowner's goals. Such recommendations might include planting trees, installing fencing, putting up nesting boxes, creating trails, harvesting timber, thinning a dense stand of trees, protecting a unique natural resource, such as rare or endangered species or other alternatives. Financial and technical assistance may be available to help landowners implement the recommendations they choose to act upon.

Interested land owners with 20 or more acres contact Dick Peterson, DNR Forester at the Faribault DNR Forestry Office, richard.f.peterson@state.mn.us or 507-333-2012.

Forest Registry

Once a stewardship plan has been developed for a particular property, the landowner is eligible to enroll in the Big Woods Heritage Forest Registry. Lands so enrolled are officially part of the Big Woods Heritage Forest

The registry is meant to encourage and recognize landowners who have made an effort to conserve, manage and restore the native plant communities of the Big Woods ecosystem. Those who enroll can receive a number of free benefits, including:

The Big Woods Heritage Forest Registry is completely voluntary. Landowners retain all rights to their property, including the right to post it to prohibit trespassing and hunting. Land can be withdrawn from the registry at any time.