Woodland - Winter 2019 - 7

The land has been in her family
for three generations. Sitting in
the middle of Pennsylvania, it is
a zig zagged shaped tract at the
headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay
watershed. Stately white oaks, red
oaks, hickories and more are mixed
in with a few small patches of open
grass fields and wild flowers.
Her first encounter with the
struggles of land ownership came
when she was just a teenager. Her
grandfather, who purchased the
property in 1943, had never formally
set up succession planning for the
land. So when he passed, Susan's
father, Lewis Shoemaker, had to
fight other family members to keep it
from being broken up and sold.
"When my grandfather died, my
father basically lost his whole family,
because he never spoke to any
of them again," she recalls. "I was
just 16 years old - which was old
enough to understand the toll land
can take on a family."
The Benedict Family Uses the
Sale of Timber to Pay for Taxes
and Management of the Land
While Lewis had no formal
forestry background, he, like other
landowners, had a determination to
keep the land in trees and keep it
healthy and productive. For Susan,
this meant weekends spent at
Bear Town, helping her father and
brothers do much of the hard labor
themselves - clearing out the 8
miles of roads, cutting firewood and
other chores. It was fulfilling work,
but much of it was done without
guidance or professional advice.
And that meant mistakes were
made and lessons learned.
"In the 1970's, there were a lot
more landowners who didn't know
about sustainable forestry. So when
we had a harvest, we did something
called a 'diameter limited cut' -
meaning they would come in and
take the trees larger than 17 inches
that would make good, straight
poles and such. We didn't realize it,
but it's what modern-day forestry

would consider high grading. It's
not a sustainable practice. We were
fortunate though. Our property has
incredible soil, and we had very
good regeneration. But a lot of
properties in our area that did the
same thing were not as lucky."
Susan Seeks the Help of
Professionals to Help Her Care
for Her Land
It wasn't until many years later, in
the 1990's that they began formally
working with a forester. He helped
Lewis, Susan and her brothers write
a forest management plan and
guided them on the best practices for
harvesting such as taking the smaller,
lower quality trees first, to allow more
room for the quality trees to grow and

seed regeneration. In no time at all
they began to see the difference in
overall health of their stands, and in
the wildlife that increased.
Taking Over the Family Legacy
and the Management Bills
Before her father passed in 2006,
he sat Susan down to give her
instructions on carrying on his legacy.
"He said to me sternly 'Don't piss
away this land. It's important to me.
It's important to our family. And it's
important to something bigger than
us both.' I really took that to heart."
Several months later, she set up
a meeting with their forester. She
wanted to get a feel for how he and
her father had managed the land,
and build out a plan for the future.

Winter 2019 * WOODLAND 7


Woodland - Winter 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Woodland - Winter 2019

2019 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year
Giving Back for the Forests of Tomorrow
Policies And Partnerships Go Hand In Hand For Strong Forests
Woodland - Winter 2019 - Intro
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover1
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover2
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 3
Woodland - Winter 2019 - OVERSTORY
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 5
Woodland - Winter 2019 - FORESTS AND FAMILIES
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 7
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 8
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 9
Woodland - Winter 2019 - FOREST INTERACTIONS Seedlings
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 11
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 12
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 13
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 14
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 15
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 16
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 17
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 18
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 19
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 2019 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 21
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 22
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 23
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 24
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 25
Woodland - Winter 2019 - Giving Back for the Forests of Tomorrow
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 27
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 28
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 29
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 30
Woodland - Winter 2019 - Policies And Partnerships Go Hand In Hand For Strong Forests
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 32
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 33
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 34
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 35
Woodland - Winter 2019 - TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 37
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 38
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover3
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover4