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Land management plan

Hokyoji is situated on 105 acres of land nestled among forested hills just inside the Minnesota border, three miles north of the town of New Albin, Iowa and about two miles from the Mississippi River. 

Management areas

  • Restored savannah area: old fields on either side of the main ravine
  • Walnut park area: encircling 2 ravines and expanding upon the black walnut grove already in place
  • Bluff forest preserve area: forest areas, particularly old growth and fragile areas which will be left untouched for the most part
  • Managed forest area: forest areas in which cultivation and careful harvest can be considered
  • Wetlands, intermittent stream/ravine, spring and spring stream area
  • Pine plantations: planted white and red pine
  • Agricultural plots: compatible with potential prairie restoration and providing productive use
  • Trails and roadsides

Buildings and grounds, including cultivated gardens, are viewed as apart from land management in acknowledgement that these areas are primarily architectural landscapes as opposed to natural landscapes. There is obviously interaction between the architectural and natural landscapes, for instance, native plant gardens on the grounds and buildings in the midst of natural areas.

As part of efforts to cultivate the return (or preservation) of native communities, we will ensure that intimate encounters with the land and opportunities to appreciate it are available to Hokyoji guests. To this end, a number of trails are envisioned, and some are already in place.

Although the plan is ambitious, significant progress has already been made and there is active engagement. The presence of additional residents at Hokyoji has provided extra energy to some of these efforts. A number of volunteers have contributed during the caring for the land weekends and other times.

Recent projects underway

1) Clearing the upper field for the savanna area
2) Subsequent clearing of the thicket areas; until the savanna landscape takes hold, continued intervention is required
3) Burning cleared brush piles in subsequent years
4) Providing trail access to the lower field
5) Clearing and black walnut seeding to fill in and extend the walnut park
6) Removing invasive species in parts of the forest areas
7) Creating a trail to the spring from behind the cabin
8) Some pine plantation thinning was contracted when some white pine was sold to Ryumonji

Future projects

1) Continued clearing of the field areas: new areas and repeated as necessary on existing cleared areas
2) Burning the savanna to promote the desired plant communities
3) Over-seeding native savanna mix and other appropriate seed mixes on the savanna
4) Continued tree planting (from both seeds and seedlings) in the walnut park, forest, wetlands & other areas
5) Pruning and thinning in the forest areas and pine plantations
6) Seed collection for replanting 
7) Completing connecting trails for easy passage across the ravine between lower and upper fields
8) Extending the trail to the spring to enter the lowland meadow/wetland  area.