Itasca County encompasses 1.87 million acres of land. The Land Department manages approximately 296,000 acres of tax-forfeited land within the county. The land is managed for the maximum benefit of the public.
Forest management activities provide an annual economic return to the county through timber sales. Forest managers strive to achieve a balance between timber production for economic reasons and providing wildlife habitat, regeneration of forests, recreation and erosion control.
The Itasca County Land Department manages the forest stands for the maximum benefit for the people of Itasca County. The department must currently inventory and update the status of forest stands. The department conducts forest stand surveys on foot.
Foresters inventory the forests looking at such things as tree density, diameter, species composition, and age of the stand. Infrared aerial photos are used for mapping and navigation. Forest managers survey regenerating forest stands to assess the numbers of trees regenerating. Trees are reported as number of seedlings per acre.
In order to determine the exact boundaries of recent forest management areas the department takes aerial photos flown at a scale of four inches to a mile. While the pilot is flying the plane, another person takes overlapping photos along the flight line through an opening in the bottom of the airplane. The photos are taken during full leaf color in the fall. This enables land managers to identify forest stands by species.