Rural System, Inc.
 Sustained rural lands; sustained profits

Overview and Design Document continued...(last section)

Novosports continued...

Otherwise, pairs up to hundreds of people of any age may play. It can be played by people in wheel chairs or by those with actual or imposed limitations (e.g., one-arm only).

The symbolism, lest it be missed on anyone, is that the total world, at least the world of the region, must be worked with vigorously and craftily to achieve goals. It must be done within legal and ecological constraints and rules. Teamwork is needed. Unusual events occur due to combined forces. Outlaws produce team losses. We can compete for mutual pleasure, health, and satisfaction. An additional note and description are available.


Development costs are $70,000

Annual gains are estimated at

The Wilderness Group

The Wilderness Group seeks out ancient forests, especially those of the Pivotal Tracts, National Forests and Parks, state forests and parks, trust and easement lands, and The Nature Conservancy, and tries to visit them, study them, and encourage that they be protected and properly managed.

A special interest is in assuring that more studies are done, and that the research done on them is used. Wilderness areas are said to be preserved for science. The group seeks to assure that this objective is achieved ... in addition to their many other objectives and uses.

The financial base is memberships, tour fees, publications and maps, photography supplies, catered meals, field equipment, publications, art and photographs, and tourism services to other wilderness areas in the region, U.S. and international areas (see The Tours Group). The special emphases are on guided tours to ancient forests wherever they may be found. Select areas are likely to be on public lands but private areas are sought as well and landowners benefit from fees paid to them from visits.

Funds are sought for research in these areas, especially in cooperation with public and private groups. Active use (visits, studies, but not camping or potentially destructive work) is intended within Designated Wildland Natural Areas. These are similar to U.S. Forest Services "Research Natural Areas." Each Natural Area is highly protected. Their primary purpose or use is for monitoring, acquiring knowledge, education, and fostering the metaphysical benefits stated by many people, i.e., the values of "just knowing they are there and well tended." They are areas where some communities or natural features are preserved for scientific purposes and where natural processes are allowed to dominate.

Their main purposes are to provide:

  1. Baseline structure, dynamics, and relations against which effects of human activities or natural change elsewhere can be measured;
  2. Sites for study of natural processes in relatively undisturbed ecosystems;
  3. Sites for people to gain an historic perspective;
  4. Gene pools of all types of organisms, especially rare and endangered species and their dependents.

The guiding principles in managing these natural areas are to prevent unnatural encroachments or disturbances that directly or indirectly modify ecological processes or structures of the areas. The Wilderness Group will seek out inventoried ancient forests on the Jefferson and George Washington National Forest and in other public areas and do in-depth studies of these areas in order to try to gain knowledge of them as well as their protection and continued special use.

Typically, logging or grazing are not allowed, neither is human use which threatens to prevent achieving the objectives of the areas in general or the specific objective of a particular area. Management practices are allowed. Studies of a non-destructive nature must not compromise the natural conditions. Limited, essential changes may be made and small samples may be removed. It is critical that the investments made in long-term studies on these areas not be lost to later disturbances (e.g., logging, roads, powerlines, etc.). Protection is essential, but the costs are high and thus the production of knowledge from the area is expected to be equal or greater in relative terms.


  1. need to obtain permission to use the area;
  2. regulations need to be followed;
  3. reports need to be completed (at least preliminary or "insurance" reports) regularly and soon after studies;
  4. reports and photographs or images (published or not) need to be filed with the Natural Area administrator;
  5. samples and photographs or images need to be cataloged and storage/disposition reported;
  6. predictive models need to be attempted;
  7. methods must be described so that they can be repeated or appropriate adjustment made for new technology used;
  8. explanatory or historical models need to be created;
  9. registered-mail notarized predictions need to be made to allow tests of the dynamics of predictive abilities of ecosystem diagnosticians.

The needs are to avoid impairing the sites for producing useful conclusions and to avoid conflicts among users (both current and with past or on-going studies). Plans for detailed area descriptions are available.

Biology and other classes of students may visit and use the sites and contribute to a dynamic array of text files in the "Wilderness Book" on the web. Each file is about one of the above topics and has its own set of references and authors. "Expeditions" are encouraged to gain a variety of observations in a brief period on the listed topics. Emphasis on and interest in the areas splits among The Tours Group, The Camps Group, and Nature Folks.

Estimates Salary, rented vehicle, and modest field equipment seems needed at first ($50,000). Estimates based on memberships and trips is:


Building high quality hiking, biking, and riding trails is difficult. It is an almost lost art. There is artistry in locating them, constructing them with native materials, and paying attention to the environment through which they go.

Trails and related developments may enable alternative strategies to return-to-contour work. The Stoneworms have expert experienced staff and have access to modern equipment to build these trails (not roads) and maintain them. It is grounded in the results of thousands of dollars spent in federal and state research. Trails are a first essential to learning the land, exploring its potentials, avoiding resource conflicts, creating primary firebreaks, and opening the areas for year-around profitable use. A well-trained and equipped trail building and maintenance crew, the Stoneworms, is needed.

Official Avi is one user of the service. Trails between campsite will be important. The Wildland Crew may also help in maintaining some trails. University students may become involved. After developing trails throughout the area, services can be marketed to public land agencies, gardeners, and others. The work needed is in trail layout (with GIS optimization), trail construction (with special trails for the handicapped), trail maintenance and supervision, and trail signs (see The Products Group). Special work will be needed for The Stables Group for horseback riding trails. Pastures and rangelands present special trail building and maintenance problems (see The Pasture and Range Group). Work with substances from the Walnut Vales for trail coating and trailside applications will be likely.

Increasingly, trails become protective firelines as well as effective access to wildfires and prescribed burns.

The Rollers, an ancillary group, may be developed. The courts throughout the state require juvenile offenders to perform community service. Often there are only meaningless or demeaning tasks to perform. We propose to contact the courts to work with the conservation and educational objectives of the Rural System, Inc. and request that youths and others be assign to work on trails within the Pivotal Tracts. Specially selected staff will work to provide healthful, meaningful positive outdoor work experiences. Benefits will be the equivalent of minimum hourly wages not otherwise required.

Sample Text for Projects: A US Forest Service Action, November, 2000

The Forest Service intends to prepare an environmental impact statement to disclose the environmental consequences of the proposed Interface Recreation Trails Project on the Calaveras Ranger District of the Stanislaus National Forest. The agency proposes to design a system of recreation routes, determine the uses that can occur on each route in the system, and develop measures to protect natural resources on approximately 8,600 acres of National Forest System lands. Hiking, horseback riding, mountain bike riding, off-highway vehicle riding, and street legal vehicle riding are the uses being considered in this analysis. The purpose of the proposal is to provide a variety of recreation opportunities for route users while protecting the natural resources, minimizing conflicts between recreationists and others, and promoting public safety.


Development costs are about $130,000. Profits:

The Stables

Insurance costs for horseback riding and stable care are said to be high. This does not stop some groups. Initial work will be with creating trails, loading areas and corrals, and developing a clientele.

Several stables throughout the region may be marketed as a unit. They provide superior horse care under a veterinarian's supervision. A computer-based nutrition program for each horse is available.

A computer simulation and system provides an analysis of status, finances, health scores, and shows achievement of system objectives.

Publications and presentations on web sites and elsewhere include sections on ecosystem management, the role of horses in wildlife management, the attitudes of horse owners to a cooperative system of horse use and trail rides, the behavior of wildlife related to the wildlife- observer whether on foot or on horseback, the horse trail and its construction and use in recreation and wildlife management, and the potential role of horses in ecotourism.

The proposed enterprise may provide:

At Lake Tahoe (1999) trail rides were $22; half-day rides were $80;a breakfast ride was $30; a barbecue ride was $40; a wagon ride was $12; an overnight pack trip was $300; extended pack trips were $150 per day. Group rates were available.


Estimated development costs are $150,000 with annual profits:

The Fence Group

The group designs a visually distinctive type of very suitable fence, one that contributes to the rural character of the county. It develops an efficient procedure for installing it, creates horse and other pasture fences, and creates specialized fences for gardens, beehives, and rabbit housing protection. It is likely that signs (for Pivotal Tracts, Dogwood Inns, etc.) mentioned with The Products Group will be created in this group. Local woods are used. A notable but compatible-color is used. Minimum wood preservatives are used. Birdhouses accompany almost all Rural System, Inc. fences. Nested hexagonal pastures are used in rotating grazing to rest areas from use and to create unusual patterns on the landscape.

Flagpoles with locally-made colorful flags are typically placed at two corners of each fenced pasture. Under-sized wood is thinned from forests to supply fencing and to improve stand quality. Special efforts are directed at stream and pond bank fencing to reduce erosion and to improve riparian volume conditions generally. Abundant fencing is needed throughout the property to allow for livestock management. It can enhance greatly the esthetic beauty and rural atmosphere.

Abundant low quality wood exists. In this enterprise a log splitter can be used to form split small fence rails. By placing them in a gas-, coal-, or wood-heated vat of preservatives they can then be used area-wide or baled and moved by rail or truck to urban centers for sales for yards, estates, and farms.

A unique sawn fence post with a built-in birdhouse (described later) will also be a potential market commodity having wildlife as well as functional benefits. The advantages of this group are in are wood products with higher value than chips, objects that are needed for the property, and some with off-site sales appeal. By careful planned use of a unique fence style, the image of the region and the corporation can be built and enhanced. Visitors may so admire the fences they will order them for their property. Consistency of style and evident "fit" into the planned appearance of the total property are needed. An architectural review panel (2-person) is needed for fences as well as all structures. They will have the responsibility for deciding on or approving paint, color, texture, proportions, materials use (stone, glass, wood, etc.) and assuring a high quality visual experience for visitors and one that enhances the life quality of the residents. (Initial Needs: Splitter, powered post hole digger; bur router; contract-sawn posts.)

Deer damage has reached unbearable levels in some areas. Work with the Pest Force is one option that may develop, but a separate subproject may develop a cost-effective high out-rigger fence for protecting nurseries, crops, and high-valued landscaping. Electric fencing and repetitious use of repellents (as from a lawn mowing service) may also become part of the supplies and services provided.

The preservative properties of daffodils, Eastern cedar, Christmas ferns, black locust, Ohio buckeye, and walnut hulls (see Walnut Vales) will be investigated for use with biopreservation-substances for fencing woods and garden structures and art.


Estimated development cost is $40,000 with potential profits based on marketing and levels of area use achieved by other groups.

The Pasture and Range Group

This unit of Rural System, Inc. recognizes that all land is not best suited for growing trees. There are vast areas of pastures as well as small openings within forests. In much of the surface region, the rainfall is high but the amount of available precipitation during the growing season (due to rapid runoff, rapid soil infiltration, evaporation, and runoff) is very small, almost "semi-arid."

The unit creates a system that produces a written report (suitable for electronic transmission) for a landowner providing an analysis and description of a grassland and a user-readable, linear-programming and expert system report that prescribes how to manage early-succession ecosystems in the mid-Atlantic states to achieve owner's objectives.

Widespread needs exist for managing pasture, prairie, rangeland, and wild grasslands or early succession plant communities (hereinafter "grasslands"). This project will list and describe such needs but move to describe how they can be analyzed, then develop a 181prescriptive system -- one that writes out a readable set of practical methods -- amounts, and sequences -- that, if implemented, will achieve landowner objectives. Simple rules like "raising one calf to a marketable weight requires 1 or 2 acres of productive pasture and supplemental feeding" are inadequate for sustained profits. Previous work indicates that for economical and efficient pasture management there must be sufficient acreage and herd-size must be large. The situation has parallels within forest ownership. Only when economies of scale are achieved can profits be made. There is no reason why the ownership cannot be the production unit, not simply forests ... any land on the other side of the fence. Such work does not exclude work with pet animals and individual animal-related hobbies. Our past work suggests the utility of pastures for productive wild turkey populations. The forest/turkey/pasture system is evident.

The work may include silvopastoral work - part of agroforestry.

The staff operates a system that, among other things, produces a report like that from The Trevey. The report is created from two files, one a text file, the other a data file. This site information file is merged into the text file. The site information file (1) may cause select parts of the report to be suppressed, or (2) words to be inserted (e.g., county name, date, "high"-"low" etc.); graphs to be drawn; or numbers to be inserted. The graphs are drawn, for example, based on summary data from a GIS window from a database that includes the property. Models in ancillary programs (e.g., regressions) compute their dependent variable values based on field site inputs, then load them into the site information file.

The major optimization programs are linear programming, probably COPLAN with which we have worked, or LINDO. An alternative described in Giles' 1978 Wildlife Management will be studied for an alternative. EXSYS, an expert system shell will be studied for potential uses.

The new power that we bring, well developed in separate applications, are GPS-specific location of grassland units; 20 GIS factors (elevation, slope, aspect, slope position, distance from roads, distance from water, geology, temperature, precipitation, evapotranspiration, etc.) Work is grounded in extensive research and synthesis for the region.

We propose to provide the landowner with options for objectives but past experience (TVA) suggests this is difficult, so we shall present three likely objective formulations so that differences in prescriptions can be observed and evaluated.

A successful Goat System will depend upon a vital Pasture and Range Group. A cost-effective, multiple-ownership dairy goatherd may be the center of a cheese and other product enterprise. Membership will promote quality goats, humane treatment, nutrition, rational financial analyses, use of computer and GIS, herd management, and quality herd records. A newsletter and web site will be maintained. This is not a "brush goat" operation but one that emphasized pasture management and energy budgeting. It uses The Fence Group and the Products Group and shows the use of GIS in selecting grazing areas and optimum pasture management. A veterinarian or Ph.D. candidate in animal science may be recruited to assist in the start-up and design of the complex system. Non-violent wards of the courts, where feasible, may find time usefully spent in this enterprise. Facilities of the unified lab will be used for analyses of milk, blood, urine, etc. The goats may be a surrogate for some white-tailed deer and used to improve studies and lower their costs.

The project develops a demonstration of a prescriptive system (an element of Leopold's concept of land health). It opens the door to a region-specific service unit, one that will produce such reports, or a larger stable service center that may provide (electronically via the web) these reports to many areas (and continual improvements).

The above is only possible or feasible due to our previous work. After the prescriptions are produced, much in the pattern developed for The Trevey, then assistance will be provided for obtaining fencing, water management, access, lime, fertilizer, and labor to carry out the work. Contract work will be arranged with superior groups of workers or new services developed. Research opportunities (with financial overhead gains) will be explored.

The needs are great; there are vast areas of poor or slowly-eroding pastures and new un-managed pastures being created; the potential for a major synthetic breakthrough exists. See the work of The Land Institute (Kansas). Also NRCS Guides for Virginia.


Development costs are estimated as $150,000. Profits

The Gardens Group

See also The Yards Group and Blueberry Patch concepts below.

See Topics, a product for the garden and elsewhere.

Pivotal Gardens that are products of Rural System, Inc. and The Gardens Group are scientifically designed gardens using modern concepts of horticulture to grow profitable, healthy and healthful, beautiful garden produce for profit in the region.

Reviving some of the concepts of World War II "Victory Gardens," these gardens are placed by the company on private lands and produce is used by the owner and sold in large lots after being collected from the plots.

Contracts and temporary easements are let for long-term plot use. Private land owners may request that their area (s) be developed as profit-making units of the regional Rural System, Inc. effort. Not "organic" produce, that which is produced (flowers, fruits, vegetables, herbs, decorations) is marketed as local, a special superior product of Rural System, Inc. healthful, clean, and displayed in beautiful settings for the people of the region, visitors, and those nearby. The well-tended gardens, abundant throughout the county, give a distinctive look, additional charm and beauty to the area.

Existing soils are analyzed in the Inquire Lab and then, based on conditions found, adjusted to an optimum standard of texture, organic matter, and fertility. Catchments assure moisture in water-limited periods. Fencing protects the gardens from vertebrate pest damage and vandals. Each garden is specifically located with GPS, a database for each is prepared (from data from the following computer-produced map showing unexpected patterns of temperature and moisture). Optimum seeds are provided for the most profitable crops that can be produced on plots with the specified location. Garden owners are encouraged in maximum quality production for it is purchased from them. They may use limited amounts of produce from their land, but it is thus not available for sale.

The Gardens Group is a company exercising dispersed gardening, centralized sales, voluntary contractual use of private property, economies of purchasing seeds, fencing, moisture structures, fertilizers, sands, and mulch, and insurance.


Development costs are $50,000. Profits:


Prospect: The Yards Group

Prospects seem great for expanding The Gardens Group into closely related work with yards. Increasingly people are moving from the cities. The residential-area people are moving to the rural fringes. There are growing needs for wild animal population and other environmental management at the rural fringe. Quarries, roadways, powerlines, farmyards, and industrial areas ... all have wildlife that can be managed ... to increase or decrease it. The variety of conditions is so great that it is difficult to generalize. The key activities are within gardens and for birdhouses, feeders, and birdbaths. There are needs to reduce pests (e.g., pigeons or their effects) and wildlife collisions with autos.

Whether in the city, town, or rural area, yards can be managed for great satisfaction. Service can be supplied (like that of and in cooperation with the lawn-care companies). Landscaping can improve energy conservation in buildings and provide food and nesting sites. Free-roaming pets are a significant problem and poor sanitation can attract many animals that may become pests. Runoff controls are needed and water supplies need protection. The program of the alternative Yards Group related to wildlife and gardens may include:

Typically, work will be done with urban forestry specialists, The Arborist Group, and include :


Prospect: The Blueberry Patch

The Patch is an under-stated system. It is created for private profit, employment opportunities, and heightened value of land that makes it especially worthwhile tending well. It is more than a "patch," really a system of patches and the total system that includes them.

The assumption is that blueberries can be grown well and we will devote much expertise to that. The first-order creative juices needed are how to add value to products of the land. Not at all limiting, the needs are for related (additive values) as well as enhancing values. These, for example, first-cut, are:

  • Individual plant sales for backyard wildlife developments
  • Dried products (using sun and natural gas from local sources)
  • Hand manufacture of bear-paw scoop pickers (with Black Bear Group link)
  • Sale of protection against bird damage (see Pest Force)

    Notes: The blueberries are consumed by 93 species of wildlife. These include robin, titmouse, chickadee, cedar waxwing, tanager, and phoebe.

    Preliminary cultivation instructions: select moist area exposed to long periods of sunshine (thus S and SW-facing slopes, The soil should be light (not dense clay) and with much humus. An acid soil is required. Place plants 4 feet apart in rows about 6-8 feet apart (later study exact optimum spacing, especially with hexagonal spacing being considered for gaining full sunlight on mature plants). Mulch plants (or use other techniques to retain moisture for the roots.)

    Plants are shallow rooted and may be damaged by cultivation.
    Remove 1/3 growth at planting time if spring planted or following spring if fall-planted.
    After 3rd year, prune out low spreading branches and 1-2 old canes.
    Plant 2 or more varieties for cross-pollination.
    Try to contact Dr. Robert Adams, Newport, Va., for advice and possible links.
    There is need for a booklet, to be produced, later sold, on "The Productive Blueberry Patch - What We Now Know."

    The questions before us, first to gather past answers and estimates: 1. The full early meaning and derivation of ericaceous
    2. The species and variety names; the commercial varieties available
    3. The site factors associated with the available varieties (or pairs of varieties, as needed for cross fertilization)
    4. Maps (GIS) of these factors and their combinations
    5. Best seasonal mix for the varieties
    6. Maximum, mean, modal, median production per plant/row/acre?
    7. Weight per quart/peck - other relevant units
    8. Nutritional content - average energy,, soluble solids, carbohydrates, sugars
    9. Ant-oxidants and the full story of functions
    10. Best soils, fertilizer, conditioning, cultivation, stand replacement?
    11. Best slope, aspect, elevation, nearness to roads? Nearness to water a factor?
    12. Desired spacing between rows/ plants
    13. Berry production correlation with sprouting (low?)
    14. Drip irrigation?
    15. Plastic sheets to save moisture?
    16. Pruning effects, frequency, effects on fruit production
    17. Hormone enhancement of flowering?
    18. Protection of produced flowers?
    19. Cultivation periods of the year (graph of days with person-power required per day - in connection with other enterprises)
    20. Major Internet sites
    21. Insects - list, with treatments and effects, and prevention
    22. Diseases - same
    23. Deer? Bears? Bird nets?
    24. Maximum age of plants? Succession or production curves for each aged plant
    25. Price per unit, changes over time, estimates
    26. Recipe book - write/sell seasonal and special meals or dishes
    27. Uses of pulp
    28. Uses of waste/wash waters
    29. Washing, flotation, cleaning fruits
    30. Drying and freezing potentials
    31. Efficient picking
    32. Packaging and delivery
    33. Insurance against fire? vandalism? frost? available? costs?
    34. Optimum Patch - how many plants, units, size of each, economies of scale and profit (not just size) and contractual requirements for participants (share cropping etc.) tending each small area of plants
    35. Effects of fire are from fertilization, little else (Smith and Hilton 1971)
    36. Minore et al. Rhizome root structure 3-12 inches below surface
    37. Ratio of ripe weight to harvested weight of berries?

    ripe weight = harvested weight x (average weight of ripe berry/average weight of harvested berry) 38. Huckleberry shrubs burned in summer or autumn sprout during the following summer but do not produce berries for at least 3 years after the fire (Minore et al.)
    39. Getting seeds: Place ripe berries in a blender with water and small amount of detergent to wet seeds and keep them from floating away with the pulp. Place resulting slurry in a dish and decant under a slow stream of water. Pulp will float away, leaving seeds in the dish bottom. Air dry seeds, sow on moist peat at cool growth chamber temperature (64 degrees F) 12 hour days, 55 degree 12-hour nights Germination occurs in 16-21 days. pH 5 is best growth environment. (Minore et al.)


    Smith, D.W. and R. J. Hilton. 1971. The comparative effects of pruning by burning or clipping on lowbush blueberries in North-eastern Ontario. J. Appl. Ecol. 8(3)781-789

    Mien, S. E. (1964). Chemical aspects of heather burning. J. Appl. Ecol. 1, 347-67.

    Black, W. N. (1963). The effect of frequency of rotational burning on blueberry production. Can. J. Pl. Sci. 43, 161-5.

    Boultbee, R. (1956). Blueberry cropping experiment in Port Arthur District. Mgmt. Rep. Ont. Dep. Lands For. Fish Wildl. 28, 32-42.

    Chapman, S. B. (1967). Nutrient budgets for a dry heath ecosystem in the south of England. J. Ecol. 55, 677-89.

    Eaton, E. L. & White, R. G. (1960). The relation between burning dates and the development of sprouts and flower buds in the lowbush blueberry. Am. Soc. hort. Sci. 76, 338-42.

    Robertson, R. A. and Davies, G. E. (1965). Quantities of plant nutrients in heather ecosystems. J. appl. Ecol. 2, 211-9.

    Smith, D. W. (1969). A taximetric study of Vaccinium in northeastern Ontario. Can. J. Bot. 47, 1747-59.

    Smith, D. W. (1970). Concentrations of soil nutrients before and after fire. Can. J. Soil Sci. 50, 17-29.

    Smith, D. W., Hilton, R. J. and Evans, W. D. (1968). Wild blueberry management in Ontario. Brch Rep. Agric. Rehab. Dvel. (Res. Proj. 25028), p. 26. 188

    Trevett, M. F. (1956). Observations on the decline and rehabilitation of lowbush blueberry fields. Misc. Publs Me. agric. Exp. Stn, 626, p. 21.

    Rogers, R. 1974. Blueberries, p.12-15 in Gill, J.D. and W.M. Healy. Shrubs and vines for Northeastern Wildlife, USDA For Serv. Tech Rpt NE-9, 180pp.

    Minore, D. A.W. Smart, and M. E. Dubrasich. 1979. Huckleberry ecology and management research in the Pacific Northwest, USDDA Forest Serv. Gen Tech Rpt PNW-93, 51 pp with table. (re big huckleberry V. membranaceum)

    The Vineyards

    The power of the GIS allows optimum sites for grapevine growing to be selected. Many wine-producing groups have developed in Virginia and we will seek to supply them with analyses of lands, and later, quality raw materials. Site selection will include current growing season length, solar radiation, precipitation, temperatures, land use, soil origins, dept to bedrock, slope, aspects, elevations, landform, distance from roads, and proximity to potential labor.

    By dispersing small vineyards under one management, economies may be gained that would otherwise require large and otherwise impossible investments for gaining enough suitable acreage. Our objective is to supply (in addition to superior information) large quantities of high quality grapes. Later wine production (the value-added concept) may be exploited.

    We will assist in developing cooperative vineyards with computer-selected varieties on the best computer-selected sites to maximize profits from grape sales for select markets such as for jams and jellies, desert grapes, and wines.

    A computer-aided management system will be developed and used to assure maximum profits from the diverse vineyards on privately owned lands leased to the corporation. The grapes and various wastes will be delivered to local or other markets. Some will be offered locally (even at a financial loss) to make local connections and to acquaint tourists and others with the vineyard system and its superior products.

    Tours will be conducted, in cooperation with the wineries, of the vineyards and associated technologies. Services of the Pest Force and from The Safety and Security Group will be essential.


    Initial software development and marketing within System Central is estimated as $30,000. Cooperative arrangements may be made with existing vineyards but otherwise, net gains are not expected until the 6th year.


    A viewscape is all of the land and water seen from a point or along a series of points (a road or trail). Viewscape management includes describing, planning, and designing the visual aspects of all components of the area. Managing the "seen aspects" may greatly effect the perceived spirit of a place. All resource activities or management practices are included. Activities typically will include on-the-ground and computer-aided analyses of visual influences, at least before construction or action. Actions, wherever possible, will be harmonized within the viewscape. A bad experience with an even or scene experienced by the public can result in costly delays, lawsuits, and repressed public relations that may last for years. Viewscapes, like streams and soil, must be managed. See Solid Homes for additional discussion of esthetic and viewscape issues.

    Stillman (1966:5) said:

    ... A view offers a chance to look away at nothing much; to see variety in distance, shape, color, and texture. One thinks about anything but what one sees at such a time. We all need the chance to look with unseeing eyes ...

    Many people within the natural resource fields discuss at length esthetics (even its alternative spelling "aesthetics"), beauty, attractiveness, and the role of scenery in recreation and ecosystem management. Among staff of Rural System, Inc. we shall be discussing an evolving concept of the perceptual and conceptual resource. The concept builds upon and unifies some older concepts and, we believe, creates a new concept that may cast a long shadow.

    Managing the Perceptual Resource

    Resources are goods and services. Natural resources have the four interactive components of energy and or matter, time, space, and variety. If forest esthetics (see Feb 1995 Journal of Forestry 93(2)) is anything, it is what a forest does to or for people, thus a service. Perhaps it is a peculiar "good" that supplies a service, but that seems an unnecessary distinction to be made. Arguing that it, whatever "it" is (for the moment), is a service and experienced or utilized by people, then we can attempt to name its major components. These are (expanded for the future, beyond visual):

    • sights or scenes, a visual service
    • odors (and rarely taste), an olfactory service
    • sounds, an audile service including quiet or lack of major noise
    • touch and texture (feel), a tactile service
    • place , "where I grew up," historical, cultural, family, (and perhaps psychological or biological imprinting) roots and personal attachments, a complex that we call affirmation service, then, finally,
    • "pretty patches do not a pretty picture make"; beauty is in the totality of a perceptual event, not its parts; and thus "collecting" ideas of pattern, sequence of events, arrangement, "fit" and gestalt-delivery combine under an inadequate phrase, unifying service.

    Part of this resource is obviously space and variety, but not-so-obvious (the evidence is in its omission) is time. A scene may change seasonally and over the years. A scene may be what can be remembered from the past (e.g., a field where soldiers once fought). Gobster (1994) said the Leopold never explicitly outlined his "ecological esthetic" but had a view that an esthetic experience is as cerebral as it is perceptual. A major part of this cerebral resource is the feeling that goes with perception, especially that when a scene or situation is "beautiful," the things there are also protected (Schuh 1995). An area seen from a distance and not particularly unattractive may be perceived as ugly because of past experience close at hand with such areas having erosion, stream sediments, and trash. "A clearcut or a trail by company X" is the perception and that includes other experiences, TV viewing, and other learning experiences.

    We manage the perceptual resource. It may include "study of" esthetics but that is much too narrow a view.

    We define beauty as seasonal and that for a named group of people. Although variable, we define beauty as expressed in relative terms for a situation -- maximum, median, mean and minimum (where negative values are those of relative ugliness).

    Certain features or phenomena detract from the presence or quality of a situation and the probability that the named group of people will judge the scene beautiful at a specified time. The detractors include, for example, high noise levels.

    Scenes or situations may be of equal value.

    Scenes are weighted relative to each other.

    Once the resource is defined, it may be possible to improve, stabilize, or easily reduce its value. A site may be more or less easily "ruined," made less beautiful or, past a point, more ugly. Most conditions are manageable -- improvable in reasonable time to a desired level at reasonable cost, then to maximize users of the higher valued resource; minimize those of the lower valued resource...and to set up conditions to maximize the sum over a planning period (say 50 years). Expected scenes can be clarified so that expectations of people will match well with what they observe.

    We have a concept of the rural culture that we shall be willing to implement, describing scenes, themes, current scene scores, dynamics of the scores, county beauty index, and a procedure to negotiate balancing losses and gains in natural beauty that may result from proposed development.

    Potential Actions in Managing the Perceptual Resource

    The following are typically included in prescriptions, and a scoring mechanism developed with them to provide incentives and contractual limits for work within the county:

    1. Do not disturb the area
    2. Manage buffer strips (filter, stabilization, leave strips)
    3. Place a visual barrier or screen
    4. Sequence harvests
    5. Reduce size of areas harvested
    6. "Feather the edges" or modify straight lines of harvest area boundaries
    7. Alter harvest methods
    8. Make careful road layout
    9. Maintain roads
    10. Keep mud off highways
    11. Tighten road standards
    12. Use partial removals as a harvest strategy
    13. Make low stumps
    14. Report rates of decomposition from local studies and demo plots
    15. Use slash (perceived by some as "waste")
    16. Reduce slash to a maximum of 2 feet off the ground
    17. Lop tree tops
    18. Build quality landings
    19. Install effective waterbars
    20. Remove or hide in-place garbage, equipment parts, oil cans, and refuse
    21. Plant older seedlings, especially in the road zone
    22. Hydroseed exposed areas
    23. Re-seed roads as soon as feasible
    24. Use partially cut buffer strips along roads
    25. With blower, blow debris from road edges onto exposed roadside-cutbanks
    26. Cut, sort, and pile logs as they arrive at the landing
    27. Use bumper trees along skid trails; reduce damage to larger high-quality trees
    28. Start work at the back of the sale; work forward
    29. Finish each section before starting another
    30. Dispose or bury all slash at the landings when the job is done
    31. Mark or build trails first, then keep tops off of these land and resource-use lanes
    32. Leave scattered clumps of trees in clearcuts
    33. Implement education (tours, etc.)
    34. Implement public education program
    35. Use professional interpretive signs
    36. Restrict viewers (season, time, locations, during harvests)
    37. Increase viewer distance from the troublesome sites
    38. Increase speed of buffer-area recovery (irrigation, fertilizer, etc.)
    39. Emphasize benefits of harvests to some species of animals or plants
    40. Harvest in remote areas
    41. Fully screen clearcuts
    42. Prevent ridgelines from appearing barren (use solid tree line)
    43. Avoid rectangular harvest units (blend)
    44. Spread cuts across the landscape
    45. Keep mud and debris off main roads
    46. Include phone number on signs so that more information may be gotten about the nature of offenses
    47. Provide brochures with signs
    48. Use signs before, during, and after the harvest operations
    49. Move people; provide new access to beautiful areas nearby when one area is harvested
    50. Anticipate spending 5% of gross stumpage on the perceptual resource ($500-1500/acre)
    51. Use GIS to map viewscapes, both see-to and seen-from points
    52. Map (with GIS) the roads (and other public areas) from which the proposed harvest areas may be seen
    53. Analyze and report the regional scenic beauty index of Pivotal Forests
    54. Link perceptual resource management to management of watersheds, wildlife, soil, air (air quality effect on viewing distance), water, and recreation

    Preliminary Viewscape management distance zones (foreground, middleground, and background) will be studied for how they may become practical. However we prefer GIS scenes from roadways, overlooks, and viewing points. The viewing points are typically: shore from lake positions; roads, trails, peaks, streams, recreational areas, viewing towers or platforms, and major entrance and exit places (e.g., town entrances and historic sites). The area provides points, linear views, and vast areas or vistas judged differently as interesting, beautiful, and awe-inspiring. The natural components of the area are attractions for many. Changes in where people live and increased urbanization will likely increase interest in the scenic values of the area.

    The land of the county is beautiful but that beauty can be enhanced. Even more important, it must be managed so that it is not diminished and so that the full messages of the Rural System, Inc. and of a system of total land management can be carried forward onto other lands. Staff will develop a plan, policies, and procedures for esthetic enhancement and management of the area that will include an integrated system for other lands. This will give the lands of the enterprise a personality and assure benefactors that their lands will be similarly treated. Not another 'park service' or 'forest service' appearance, the new 'look' of the Pivotal Tracts shows care, attention to studied concepts of natural beauty, cost effective work, diversity, sustainability, durability, and functional amendments to views and scenes. Talking about natural beauty is difficult and almost meaningless. We shall develop a concept and implement select elements for the county with a full scale presentation shortly after that.

    Minor changes in a viewscape can cause significant outcry and concern for the scenic resource or overall viewscape of the area. Having quantified studies allows at least some degree of status, of standing, and of legal defense.

    Sensitivity zones will be mapped within the GIS by System Central. Level-I zones have great importance or sensitivity to visual change. The levels are closely related to the risk of being viewed as "ugly" or, conversely the probability of falling from a class of "beautiful." Size and location of forest operations (if any) are an example of a viewscape problem of concern. Future developments will use the viewscape analyses of The Trevey. Other significant aspects of the planned action: 1. Direct inputs into documents for The Realtor Group
    2. Color coordination and consistent use for signs, structure paint, flags, staff clothing, vehicles and equipment, and fences.
    3. Consistent use of texture.
    4. Consistent use of golden-section proportions.
    5. Minimum and consistent signs.
    6. Scaled signs.
    7. Boundary marks and signs.
    8. Trail quality, signs, and markers.
    9. Entrance signs and "developments"
    10. Trail location to include viewpoints.
    11. Viewpoint selections, enhancements for photographs, and management.
    12. Roadside verge management and view (corridor view) protection.
    13. Fences and their construction and color
    14. Structures, new and remodeled, and gardens
    15. Solar energy strategies
    16. Grounds maintenance
    17. Historic site development
    18. Logo and correspondence
    19. Office appearance
    20. Software appearance
    21. Publication appearance
    22. Photo quality and presentation standards
    23. Memorial grove and ancient forest development
    24. Air quality management or emphases.
    25. Interpretive aids to scenes (names of ridges; time to hike to point x).
    26. Consulting services provided by the staff to others.

    We plan to evaluate the potential visual impact of all management activities (recreation, timber, water, wildlife, and mineral activities, road, trail, and facility construction and species uses.) Trained personnel will make evaluations. If the evaluation shows an unacceptable contrast rating, or if a feature or focal landscape is involved, efforts will be made to reduce effects or alter the project.

    Specialized project gardens will be explored, especially with Rollers and within alternative strategies for mined area reclamation and countywide beautification.


    Initial development cost......$40,000 Estimated 6th year profits.....low- $10,000 ; mod- $20,000, ans High- $50,000

    Reference: Bergen, S.D., J.L. Fridley, M.A. Ganter, and P. Schiess. 1995. Predicting the visual effect of forest operations. J. Forestry 93: (2) 33-37

    The Goats System

    Thinking of goats as "brush" animals or as cartoon characters eating tin cans is an affront to everyone who knows these animals or to those who realize their potential. I do not know why goats have the public image that they do. Perhaps the reasons need to be analyzed so that marketing of goat systems can proceed.

    Subsystems are the pieces of a larger system for people and their lands and resources. The topic here is a goat-centered profit-maximizing system. I do not know where the appropriate limits should be drawn, the context specified. The individual or group can draw its own limits, based on available resources and interest.

    There are hundreds of thousands of goats in developing countries where their history is recorded on vases 5000 years old. They are in most cases not reaching their potential individually or as a system because of genetically imposed potentials, poor or overused ranges, lack of a production-management system, faulty marketing, limited medical care, and limited experienced workers. There seems to be at least a little room for improvements. Even in developed countries there exist major opportunities for improvement, even in the management and care of a few animals. The potentials in larger systems can be impressive.

    Dairy goats are not just "small cows." There are many reasons for creating goat systems as well as cattle systems. Some people just like goats! That is reason enough, for the rationale is like that of some people preferring certain models of automobiles, etc. Goats are more efficient than cows in forage energy use for milk production, survive bad range or forage years better than cows (thus reducing entrepreneurial risks and boom-or-bust situations), can improve the range, and have more stable benefits than cows. They do require more manual labor than cows, but this is appropriate in some areas where there is surplus labor and/or where an active life outdoor life is viewed as one having high quality.

    Intensive management of herds and their lands is essential or profits will not be made. Whether the emphasis is on the land, the goats, or the money, in the final analysis there must be the well-known profit. The objective of such a system must be seen not as producing goats or milk, but as being a vital part of a profitable natural resource system. There may be other objectives such as:
    finding and developing stable, long-term, energetically efficient systems;
    diversifying land use;
    diversifying enterprises in regions;
    improving regional economic development at current or higher rates;
    discovering new algorithms and approaches to managerial decision making;
    finding animal surrogates for wild deer to reduce costs of and speed returns from wild-animal research, and
    demonstrating the economies of large, diverse systems-work.

    Profits need to be defined precisely as present-discounted net returns. Present discounting is discussed elsewhere but relates to adjusting investments based on equivalent returns that might be made if an alternative investment was made. A fundamental question is simply: what is the difference between this investment in a good subsystem and putting the same money in the bank? If I do not get the same or greater return, perhaps bank savings would be a more rational action.

    Profits are net values, discounted gains minus present-discounted losses. Gains are not just products but price per unit of product and the total production. The products that a goat system manager might envision, and the associated gains will be the sum of the product items times their price times their expected sale. The potential products include all of these listed in Table 1. Each has its own price, expected production, expected sales, and limitations.
    Table 1. Potential products or sale units from a dairy goat-centered system. The system brings high technology and sophisticated management to ancient pastoral animal care. Retaining deep concern for and humane care of the animals, the new industry skillfully produces needed and healthful products for the people of a region. Together, skillfully mixed, the products form a diverse, stable, source of income for people, and, through sensitively controlled grazing, contribute to improved land management.
    1. Goat sales
    2. Nursery service for doe kids (3-4 weeks to 7 months)
    3. Milk
    4. Cow-goat milk mixtures
    5. Infant aids (cholostrum)
    6. Milk for specialized raising of dogs and horses
    7. Butter
    8. Cheeses
    9. Yogurt
    10. Ice cream
    11. Goat milk fudge candies
    12. Milk and milk product analyses
    13. Hides and pelts and specialized leather products
    14. Glue
    15. Salves and medicinal mixes
    16. Soaps and rinses
    17. Garden fertilizers
    • urine base
    • feces
    • hair
    • bone-meal and blood
    18. Garden soils, e.g., mixes
    19. Erosion control products
    20. Grazing-area management systems
    21. Land rehabilitation service component
    22. Meat
    23. Meat products and composites (stews, meals)
    24. Herd sire selection service (germplasm) *
    25. Artificial insemination service
    26. Photography, art, journalism and associated supplies
    27. Facilities (including construction) and equipment
    28. Accounting and budgeting services
    29. Records and registration services
    30. Publications
    31. Education services (breeders, etc.)
    32. Insurance services
    33. Boarding services
    34. Show and judging services
    35. Marketing and advertising services
    36. Advanced goat and deer research
    37. Computer management aids, e.g., feed mix optimization service
    38. Optimum feed mixes
    39. Novosports games e.g., Cappy
    40. Computer-aided health services
    41. Marketing services

    The objective for the goat system can be formulated as:

    K = aiBi/ diCii

    where the performance, K, is expressed as the total expected benefits (B) to the system owners or stockholders per unit of expected total costs. This is a modified benefit-to-cost expression that the manager seeks to maximize (subject to a set of constraints). The coefficients, a and d, are expressions of the probabilities of success of each ith benefit or cost over a planning period (say until owner's life expectancy or 50 years). Similar quantification of objectives occurs throughout the system.

    The benefits are to be (might be) gained from sales and activities associated with the items in Table 1. The needs are for many activities and products (diversification) to stabilize the enterprise through periods in which styles, preferences, and buying patterns - - as well as production - - change and where opportunities for adding value can be seized. An advanced objective becomes one of maximizing the sum of the expected, net, present-discounted product sale value over the period of the owner's life expectancy plus the expected estate liquidation value. Producing milk profitably is a real challenge. Our plan is to develop a linear program for optimum herd size (as we have done for cattle within the Virginia coalfields). We estimate the herd to have 700 animals in about 30 herd-units throughout the region. A goat milk co-op is forming near Hiwassee, Virginia, and we shall attempt linkages there at first. Educating herdspeople, developing facilities, and recruiting a veterinarian for the nutritional and health needs of such a large herd will be challenging. Protecting the animals from increasing coyote and bear populations will require special studies. The mega-challenge, however, now approachable because we are armed with a computer, is the above objective that deals with most of the commodities in Table 1 as well as the complex locally-specific details of corporate planning and offering estate planning to those whose pastures we develop and use within The Goats System.


    Contracts for pasture use and management are developed with owners. We supply stock and facilities. Owner supplies personnel or hires from us. Profits are shared with the owner and others as specified under "financial incentives strategy."

    Development costs are: $200,000. Profits for Rural System, Inc. are estimated as:

    The Rabbit Group

    Raising rabbits has been done by many 4-H youth, and Easter-time stimulates some interest in them. Raising rabbits is a good example of non-profitable activity unless it is done on the proper scale and in the proper areas and with value added to the products and associates. There is not high demand for the now-almost-unknown meat. Chicken suffices and is popular. Rumors are that fur is no longer widely acceptable. In the face of these obstacles, yet we propose a profitable local production industry with extensive marketing.

    The elements of the proposal are: