ArboristSite.com Sponsors
 
 


Cutting wood on public land

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by HuskyMike, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. HuskyMike

    HuskyMike AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    N.E.
    I am always looking for new cutting areas to get us some fire wood.
    My state does not have a public land wood harvest program but I noticed one powerline stretch where the power company cut down alot of oaks and stuff and just stacked them all on the side of the stretch. They have been there for a couple of years now.

    I was thinking of going in and cutting little bits at a time, (I can only hall small amounts at a time) but was wondering if anyone would care or notice.

    I mean, I wouldn't want to cause trouble for fire wood but hate to see it all go to waste. Anyone ever do anything like this?
     
  2. A. Stanton

    A. Stanton Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,169
    Likes Received:
    104
    Location:
    CT
    Watch it, Mike. My state did, and maybe still does, gave permits at one time to cut on state land. I knew a guy who strayed off the reservation, and I think he got pinched. Is a couple hundred bucks worth of "free firewood" worth a couple thousand bucks for an attorney? Think about it long and hard.
     
  3. HuskyMike

    HuskyMike AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    N.E.
    I know and you are right but, this power line stretch is sometimes travelled by atv's and it gets hunted pretty hard during Deer season. So if someone was in there it wouldn't be out of the ordinary. Also, the wood has been laying for years, I mean what a waste! See my thoughts?
     
  4. jburlingham

    jburlingham Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,360
    Likes Received:
    181
    Location:
    Union, ME starting the first of the year
    I understand your question and the answer to it is complicated. I doubt anyone would really notice,however cutting on the power line right of way could pose an issue. Though I'm sure they have no interest in the wood, They may certainly have a fear of you cutting there. There is a liability issue that if you got hurt cutting on their land that you may come after them.

    If you know anyone who is a management level person they may be able to get you real permission to go there. Without permission you can probably cut a little and never be noticed, or you may get a big hassle.

    This year it has been tougher then normal to acquire firewood. I have started to stop when I see a power company line crew and ask them if they mind me grabbing the stuff they cut, as they usually chip the small stuff and leave the big stuff.

    The other great way to get wood if your in a jam is storm cleanup. Following a storm there are always trees down (usually because they were dead). I have yet to see anyone have an issue with someone cutting up a tree that is in the road, etc.
    If you do this watch out for downed power lines
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
  5. MR4WD

    MR4WD AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    563
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    Salmon Arm BC
    As a lineman, when somebody asks, I always say "you can't have it, but I don't care if it's gone"

    To me it doesn't make a lick of difference. I'm sure the operating authority would love for you to take the wood, but they would never advertise to take it. Just too much liability.
     
  6. Spotted Owl

    Spotted Owl AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    657
    Likes Received:
    429
    Location:
    PNW, USA
    Same for us. "we can't let you take it. but if it's gonna when we get back so be it."

    Every fall we get the meeting, "do to liability reasons". No poles, wood, scrap. Seems like such a waste of good materials some times. Alot of the wood we clear would make fantastice stove/boiler wood. If we haul it back it goes into the dumpster. I wish I had a quarter of the wood that we have cleared lately. As an employee(s) though we don't take anything if we like our jobs.

    A few years back BPA had cleared miles and miles of line. A few weeks later a couple guys were caught taking the wood. The were slapped with tresspass, vandalism, and habitat distruction. Keep that in mind if you decide to go in with out permission. Alot of lines that are out in the brush are transmission line and have federal ties to them even if they are owned by the local utility. Even if they are way out if they were at one time part of the REA program many also still have federal ties to them.

    Our public ground though you can get permits. BLM, USFS, Sate Forestry Deptartment. All have permits. I think it runs 16 bucks per cord for us. If you find a contact keep friendly with them. I found a guy and offered to keep his roads clean so I could get permits. Normally where I am no permits are issued. Now I get permits when needed so he doesn't have to keep the roads cleared or contract out and over see the road clearing. A scratch for scratch thing can go a long way. Most of the permit issuers are big time desk jockies and would rather not leave the office. Use that to your advantage.

    All in all this day and age the old addages, " better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission. " or " ignorance is bliss. ", are or should be out the window.


    Owl
     
  7. KsWoodsMan

    KsWoodsMan Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,818
    Likes Received:
    157
    Location:
    Flint Hills of Kansas
    Regardless of what the land is used for it is owned by someone or some entity. Your county deeds dept wil know who and have a contact # for them. I'd get the landowners permission to be there first.

    The county roads/maintenance dept may have right of ways from the road edge to the fenceline that need trimmed back They might appreciate you saving them a few man hours on that job. Here in Kansas the townships are responsible for ditches , grading and signs. One of the townships here jumped at the chance of us doing some free work for them and said throw the brush in the ditch and burn it if the ground is wet.
     
  8. Tesen

    Tesen ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Massillon, Ohio
    I went through this with Ohio's DNR; I saw a lot of wood down on some public forest areas, not far from the road. Easy place to park, safe place to cut and haul into my trailer.

    I got responses such as: 1) We offer firewood permits to campers, 2) No, we do not allow individuals to harvest fallen trees and lastly, 3) Yes, sometimes we offer permits to allow people to take fallen tress in a designated area (generally an area where it is accessible to a road, or the park rangers have hauled the fallen to).

    I did get a follow-up email about two months later, outlining the law and what it'd cost me for violation of state laws. I don't have the email anymore, but assuming they did not take the wood I harvested, the fine would have easily been two to three seasons worth of wood heat savings (i.e. heating with natural gas). Just was not worth it.

    Something I need to do, is make friends with the local tree companies (the small Mom and Pop ones). Often they have way to much wood to handle. I have a friend that a couple years ago, stopped one day when he saw a couple guys cutting a tree, they had a chipper, a 4x4 and a couple chainsaws (small operation). He asked them if they are looking for someone to grab some of their excess wood. They were happy to have him pick up a bunch. I'd advise to go that route, then deal with the local government, state or federal, less hassle.

    Tes
     
  9. Mike Van

    Mike Van Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    1,952
    Likes Received:
    230
    Location:
    Kent Ct. USA
    Without some kind of permission letter in my pocket, I'd stay away. A few loads of wood just aren't worth getting arrested for, and all the hassle that goes with that.
     
  10. Griffbm3

    Griffbm3 AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I have used our State Firewood Permit before. It works pretty good, 5 cord for $100 and so on. But you have to act fast, and they really rely on you to do a good job... Especially with the falling part.

    I have had the most luck talking to local tree services. Not to mention, I ALWAYS give the driver of the dumptruck from the tree service at least $20 for his trouble just hitting the lever to dump it. And my wife makes them pies and cookies. So far, this has yielded a lot of great firewood.

    Jason
     
  11. Rookie1

    Rookie1 Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    5,949
    Likes Received:
    1,546
    Location:
    Suburb of Cleveland,Ohio
    My cousin knows people who know people and hes trying to get written permission to harvest wood like your talking about. There is a huge pile of logs that I can see from the road,easy to see but not easy to get to,thats been there for about 2 yrs. I believe the powerlines go through state property. He has gotten a verbal OK but nothing written yet. Im anxiously waiting.:)
     
  12. carvinmark

    carvinmark Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,877
    Likes Received:
    173
    Location:
    Frederic,Michigan
    :agree2:
     
  13. HuskyMike

    HuskyMike AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    N.E.
    I happen to know a big wig at our power company, I will run it past him real quick to see what he says.
     
  14. Jon E

    Jon E ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    353
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Vermont
    In my state there are very few, if any, utility-owned lands. The tree crews that come through and clear easements are doing so on private property that the easement runs through. You would do well to find out who owns the property "under" the easement and ask them - if it is private land then you can get permission from the landowner.

    The only time this gets sticky is if the easement runs across State-owned land. I don't know the process for obtaining permission but it could be as simple as asking someone at the local highway office. I see a lot of wood just sitting and rotting in some places; and in others, it disappears in a day or two.
     
  15. woodbooga

    woodbooga cords of mystic memory

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    11,851
    Likes Received:
    1,294
    Location:
    Between Gonic and Chocorua
    The utilities in my part of NH contact landowners before doing any significant amount of work. They usually ask if the landowner wants the wood.

    Here in NH, many of the roads are flanked by stone walls. A general rule of thumb is that wood left on the road side of a wall is unwanted; anything on the otherside of the wall is spoken for.

    Recently, a local landowner gabe me permission to cut and haul a few decent-sized maples that were toppled during the July tornado. He abuts land owned by the town where there were similar windfalls. In my town, it was the road agent who was the man to contact. He's a down-to-earth laconic old yankee. Gave him a call, giving my name and street address so he knew I wasn't some joker. The 30-second conversation resulted in 2 pick-up loads of mostly red oak. :cheers:
     

Share This Page