Firewood permits again available beginning April 1

BALDWIN – Woodpiles around the North Country have taken a beating this winter.

Cold winds and snowfall that arrived early and stayed long meant a constant shuttle of firewood from stacks to homes wherever wood burning stoves were in use as residents turned to wood heat in the face of rising fuel oil and gas prices to heat their homes.

While there are a number of firewood producers who deliver cut and split firewood, many residents have turned to the “cut it yourself” option by purchasing firewood permits from the Forest Service or the state DNRE. As in past years, the ability to buy permits for up to five standard cords of down and dead firewood ended at the end of the year. From January 1 to April 1 of this year, no permits were available for home firewood sale.

“That will change as of April 1 this year,” said forest service officer Kris Kovar of the Baldwin USFS office.

“As of April first, firewood permits will again be available, but this year they will be sold on a year-around basis,” Kovar said. People will be able to buy these permits over a 12-month period.

Permits for five cords of firewood are sold for $20 a cord. “And this year you will be able to buy up to four permits, at the same time.” That means that a do-it-yourself firewood gatherer will be able to take 20 standard cords over the year. (A standard cord is a stack of wood measuring 4-feet wide by 4-feet high by 8-feet long. In firewood sales, a rick is one third of a cord, or 16-inches wide by 4-feet high by 8-feet long, a third of a cord in volume.)

Permits will become available at any Huron-Manistee National Forest office beginning April 1, “but until then those found cutting or taking firewood will be subject to arrest and fines.”

At the same time that permits become available again, the Manistee National Forest use maps showing open and closed road areas and other motor vehicle use rules will be available at any USFS office. A similar map was published last year for the Huron National Forest.

So far, firewood permits for state forests remain at the April 1 to December 31 purchase schedule as in the past.

If your wood pile runs short before April 1, you might consider buying a few ricks from any of the commercial wood haulers in the area.