The planning part is something that you can start at any time, in fact, the sooner the better. A forester can help you develop a long term management strategy and help direct your management activities. As far as preparing, the first thing is getting to know your property really well, then sitting down and writing a list of why you own your property, what you like and your ideas for the future. Learning what soils you have is also important. Each county has a soil map and information on what trees grow well on that soil type along with other information that is helpful with land management. In a nutshell, contact a forester and start researching what you have.