Seems like that is about a Section & 1/2, or a mile and a 1/4 on each side, if it is a square. 5 mile boundary. Nice. First, I might ask local gov't what legal access I had to provide or endure. It is not your property, so there may be a public access you have to keep open.
Then, I would do much what you have been doing. Walking around it, looking for the good spots, and perhaps doing a bit of brush and understory pruning. I like hammock camping, so I would be looking for a good spot for several of my friends to hammock camp near the water. Since they like to build fires at night, I would add a fire ring to my 1 camp spot, so to not damage any more than necessary. I would try to not use the same pathway when I walked through the 1000 acres, so I did not create some trail. Not being bound to the same path, I might discover something new every so often.
-------------- Everything I know, I learned by doing it wrong at least twice.
"I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth." Steve McQueen
First, naturepersonguy, unfortunately there are times when a thick skin is needed to hang out here. Nothing to take personally and it shouldn't be required of someone first posts. But, sometimes it is needed.
Second, you can have longer titles by continuing on to the second line of the "Title Block".
Third, my reply to your post. If I had a 1000 acres of private wilderness, I'd create a habitat that would allow native species of flora and fauna to exist. There would be no roads to remote areas. I may build a framed structure, but most likely just set up a permanent camping site near one of the borders.
It would be a place to visit and not to dwell long on. Certainly not a party place but I'd consider using it as a training site showing friends or students how to practice LNT, learn backcountry folklore and technique.
Fourth, hang around here for a while. You'll find it more acceptable once you learn how to handle the different personalities on the forum.
-------------- Seek Higher Ground Can you feel the silence
Having a nice piece of property that backs onto a chunk of wilderness actually has always been a fantasy of mine. As a denizen of standard issue suburbia, it's nice to see that someone gets to live the dream.
-------------- Now shall I walk or shall I ride? Ride, said pleasure, Walk, Joy replied,
This is a rare and valuable opportunity. Congratulations. I would make no changes at all if I wanted the area to truly be wilderness. Enjoy it as it is for what it is. Every time I entered the property I would take a different route. LNT. No fire rings, no zip lines, none of the other stuff I normally enjoy. Creating habitat, making trails, and other interesting but intrusive activities do not a wilderness make. Perhaps the biggest challenge of mankind is to just leave something alone.
Actually, right of way may very well be an issue. If the only way to access the national forest is via a trail that runs through your property, then traditional users of that trail could claim an easement exists by adverse possession.
First of all, enjoy it! This is a topic I have some experience with, so please excuse my verbosity. But you did ask, What would I do? And while I hope you let nothing stop you from enjoying that so-called "wilderness," I have found many things that limited my enjoyment of similar areas.
I wish you had posted where you are located. And even a few photos would clear up some questions.
Wilderness. I doubt that your 1000-acre paradise is "wilderness" in the Western sense of land protected under the Wilderness Act. You seem to live in an area where any patch of undeveloped land under public ownership (i.e. Forest Service) is considered wilderness. Several factors suggest the 1000 acres is simply Forest Service land that is not protected under the Wilderness Act. Among them are:
1) private land abuts this area, 2) there appears to be no buffer of non-wilderness public land surrounding it, 3) the patch of land is quite small, and finally, 4) a Wilderness Data Search suggests that there probably is no established wilderness area meeting your description.
Forest Service Land. So your little "wilderness" appears to be simply Forest Service land subject to multiple use. And depending upon specific regulations regarding that land, you may find one day that it is scheduled to be logged. Or an ATV trail may be allowed across it. Some neighbor may graze their cows there. Or other disappointments could appear that you would not risk in an area protected as wilderness.
Public Access. As others have noted, that old trail you mentioned is likely on what amounts to a public easement to which you can not legally deny access to other members of the public. And whether that fact is acknowledged on your deed, the laws of your area likely establish that public right to cross your private land to access the public land you mention.
This is a tradition from English Common Law that is enshrined in the law codes of many if not most states. It is an old principle. But without knowing the particulars of your location and state, how that principle operates in your circumstances is impossible to pin down here. However you view that 1000 acres, it is not really your own "private paradise." It is owned by the American People, and generally speaking, somehow they must be allowed access.
Hilly or Flat? Like I said, I hope none of this dampens your enthusiasm. But realistically, you may someday find yourself considering those things. In my case, as you have asked, I have quickly found a 1000 acres to limit my enthusiasm. If the land is fairly flat and does not provide me a 1000' to 2000' aerobic climb, I grow restless. I need that weekly. The absence of some steep hills would likely persuade me to go elsewhere for the exercise that little "paradise" did not provide.
But to test a new tent or simply get away from home and camp, that 1000 acres could be nice. So again, it may have some advantages even though I would feel limited.
Connection to Other Areas. I have lived much of my life in similar circumstances — except that my private land was sometimes much larger. And the public land was much larger. I've lived on a 1000 acres and on 23,000 acres of private land under circumstances quite primitive compared to today's lifestyles. But that land connected to undeveloped public land of tens or hundreds of thousands of acres. And even there I felt limited. It certainly had some advantages, but they did not fully satisfy my inclination to roam.
In the West private acres abutting National Forest land are common in many mountain areas. There are controversies about public access and about private domination of that land. There are risks of forest fires spreading to private land. And there are even controversies of wolves and mountain lions venturing from public to private lands.
So some folks, rather than enjoying the public land as you plan to, protest the very wilderness quality some of us enjoy. That is wilderness with a plethora of native wildlife that may delight our eyes or threaten our lifestyles — depending upon what each of us values most. The trees are beautiful but they can burn like a flash. The wolves are fascinating, but people worry about their calves and children. The water is refreshing to campers but may be under restrictions in a West with rigid laws on water rights passing through public and private lands.
On the face of it, you have circumstances to be enthused about. And you'd think many of us would enjoy similar circumstances. But experience has convinced me that first impressions may not pan out. Enjoy that small acreage every time you can. For me, I'd often wander elsewhere.
My family had 1200 acres that had been logged in the early 1900's, nothing since then. We were offered a large sum of money by a developer, it is now part of a state park, only development is a few trails.
-------------- Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
I don't know why naturepersonguy locked his post. But, I wanted to reply to it so I'm reposting it.
These topic titles need to be a little bit longer
But I live on a nice piece of land (100+ acres) out in the forest.
The best part is, walk down the hill from my house and you are on National Forest property. And this is national forest property that you can't access from anywhere else.
If someone wanted to bushwack in from one of the roads a couple of miles away, then they have every right to. But the only actual "trail" (a very old unmaintained trail) starts within our property.
So I can't imagine anyone else ever really coming into this 1,000-acre wilderness spot, and certainly have never seen anyone else there or any signs of people.
So basically I consider this my own little private paradise. There is a nice little creek running through it, the really old trail that runs through it, and besides that just lots and lots of trees.
What would you guys spend your days doing if you had this nice area all to yourself?
So far I have just been scouting it out, finding cool spots, and attempting to draw a sort of crude map of where everything is.
A little bit off the topic - but there are a few similar properties around my area. The adjoining private lands are next to areas with no trails or easy access other than by bushwhacking, and the adjoining private lands usually have the more interesting features of the area (like the top of a the highest hill in the area, or a USGS benchmark, or waterfall or ravine or old growth forest).
I've had great luck getting permission from the adjoining land owners to visit those places. Some hunt their land and won't give permission during big game or the fall and spring turkey seasons, but most seem elated that someone has an interest in the feature on their property and made the effort to ask permission.
Would you grant similar permission for such adjoining property if you owned it?