Benoît Comeau

"Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan."
Margaret Thatcher

The 18-year Plan is a forestry management project that I intend to implement in the Canadian bush that surrounds my home.

Truth be known, the work began without the 'plan' some years ago and has been progressing in fits and starts for over over 20 years now, ever since I began acquiring land where I now live. I moved into a house I built on one 30-acre parcel in late 2008. The total forested and marshland acreage I own covers about one square mile (about 540 acres).

In many respects, it has been something of a roughing it in the bush type of experiment so far. My ambition has always been to create a parkland in the forest that surrounds me and the 18-year Plan is my way of dedicating what time I have left on this planet to being the active guardian and caretaker of my surroundings.

It's a large area and a big project for what is essentially a one-man operation (moi). But the planning and chronicling of the plan's unfolding will bring some much needed direction, discipline and sense of purpose to what has been until recently a mostly part-time hobby-like endeavour.

Although property access work (aka trail blazing) has taken place on all of the parcels, I decided some time ago to focus the bulk of my efforts on three of the five contiguous parcels I own: the 30-acre parcel that my house sits on; and two other parcels across the road from my house that comprise about 270 acres. By my reckoning that would entail the opening up, 'cleaning' and maintaining of about 16 acres of land every year for 18 years; a pace of about 1.25 acre* per month.

There's plenty more that goes into the foregoing equation and I elaborate on that in my postings related to forestry management in these pages.

However, I use the word 'cleaning' purposefully, since most of the property is a veritable thicket of evergreens that requires considerable bushing out in order to make it simply passable and/or accessible. It has long been a much neglected and untended garden.

I should hasten to add that the bush is not necessarily in need of a garden-like makeover. Nature has its own way of recycling and regenerating itself when left to its own devices. But, there are sustainable forestry management practices that can be brought to bear that can ‘improve’ the natural order of things without undermining it. It’s a fine line, to be sure, but one that I hope and intend to honour as I occupy myself on this project.

*One acre covers an area of about 200 feet by 200 feet (40,000 square feet). Wikipedia provides a detailed description of an acre here.