Property Visit FAQs

We know you have questions.

Here are some we hear often. If you don’t find answers you’re looking for, reach out to us or your DNR County Forester.

We’re here to help you.

Caring for your woods can be intimidating, whether because there are specific elements you want to maintain or improve, or because you have no idea what parts of your woods should be maintained or improved. Informed decisions and actions will benefit every aspect of your land: its beauty, wildlife, trails, water quality, tree health, and productivity. Foresters understand your woods, can explain your options to you, and help you make decisions. Many landowners apply for government financial assistance to support their actions; to receive this assistance, you will need a plan written by a forester.

Foresters help landowners with proper woodland care by listening to you and understanding your concerns and desires, and by offering education and technical assistance on topics such as:

  • Invasive species control
  • Tree health
  • Water quality
  • Woodland tax basics
  • Wildlife habitat management
  • Timber inventories
  • Financial assistance programs
  • Tree planting
  • Timber harvesting
  • Referrals to consultants or contractors
  • Management plans
  • And many others.

This isn’t your grandpa’s forester anymore. Although foresters can provide advice and assistance regarding timber harvesting, they do much more than that! Today’s foresters are can inform you about invasive species identification and control, wildlife habitat improvement, trail development, and financial assistance programs, in addition to the traditional topics of tree health, productivity, and value. If they can’t help you, they will refer to you to a support network of specialists available to you who can.

Your County’s Forester works for the state of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). It is their job to meet with landowners and offer the information and resources that landowners’ request. County Foresters are available to meet with you in your woods for FREE! You might hear this forester referred to as the private lands’ forester, service forester, integrated service forester, or DNR forester. They are all the same thing.

DNR County Foresters are employees of the state of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). DNR County Foresters are available to landowners in every county in Wisconsin. Their services are FREE to you as a Wisconsin landowner. To find your DNR County Forester, click here.

Yes, every woodland owner in Wisconsin is welcome to engage their County Forester. Sometimes questions can be answered over the phone and sometimes a property visit is most appropriate.

Your values and land together represent your unique potential–revealed during a walk in the wood with your forester. Like your family doctor who cares about you and your well-being, your forester cares about you and the health of your woodlands. Your forester will walk your land, study your woods, listen to your values, and answer your questions. Following the visit, you’ll receive a summary of your woodland walk outlining actions to achieve your goals. A walk in the woods with your forester is an educational opportunity to learn about the many benefits of sustainably managing your woodlands, is completely FREE of charge, and does not obligate you to take any further action.

They are trained to:

Listen – hear and understand your values, question, and concerns.

Educate – generously offer their understanding of the land and the technical and financial resources available to you.

Demonstrate – your neighbors’ experiences are sharable through the forester’s contacts in the community.

Recommend – their overall professional advice and specific next steps are of great value–and FREE to you!

Many woodland owners are on a first-name basis with their DNR County Forester and interact at least once or twice each year with them, if only briefly. When new opportunities emerge, you’ll be the first to know. In the end, DNR County Foresters want you to feel good about the actions you want to take on your property.

If you’ve never had a visit from a natural resource professional, you’re in for a treat. It’s an “aha!” moment for many landowners. Usually, a visit takes about two hours.

After introductions, you and the forester will walk around your property. Take them to see your favorite spot and talk about what’s on your mind.  Or, if you would rather, the forester can take the lead. In either case, the forester will explain what they see and make sure you are getting value from the visit. Some landowners just want to learn the types of trees in their woods. Other landowners want to know if the forester sees any problems, such as tree diseases or invasive species. It is a lot like consulting a doctor. You will benefit from a forester visit if you have a specific question or just want a general check-up.

After the visit, you will receive a summary of your woodland walk outlining recommended actions you could take to achieve your goals. There is no obligation to act, although most landowners are motivated after a visit. A forester’s recommendations might include gathering additional information, calling a contractor, making an important family decision, starting a land care practice, or something else. Your DNR County Forester is an employee of the state and provides an unbiased perspective, which is appreciated by many landowners.

Sure, with your permission, a DNR County Forester can walk your woods and follow-up with a written summary and recommendations. That said, it is highly recommended you participate. Local foresters are trained to work with all experience levels. You are not expected to have developed any goals or objectives – if you do, the forester can address them with their comments. We are very confident you will be glad you participated in the property visit.

Yes, foresters and loggers have very different jobs.


Foresters provide services that go far beyond inventorying and appraising trees before a harvest or other timber-related activities. Foresters also assist in a variety of management goals and practices, including writing management plans, controlling invasive species, maintaining tree health, protecting water quality, and many other goals and practices. Foresters don’t actually harvest trees–they are the doctor, not the surgeon.


Loggers are in the business of bringing forest products to market through cutting trees, removing logs from woodlands, and hauling the logs to mills for processing. They may operate independently or be employed by a mill. Loggers use chainsaws or large equipment to fell trees, skidders with a cable or grapple to haul logs out of the woods, and logging trucks to transport logs to mills.

Wisconsin Master Logger

The Wisconsin Master Logger Program is a certification program based on national standards set by the American Loggers Council. The Wisconsin Master Logger Certification Program recognizes logging companies that meet the sustainable forest management standards set forth by the American Loggers Council. In Wisconsin, the program is overseen by the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association (GLTPA). Visit the Wisconsin Master Logger Certification website for more information.