How to Secure a Log Cutting Permit from Government-Owned Lands

Buying commercial logs for your fuel needs can be very expensive. Hardwood that is pre-cut and delivered to your home can cost anywhere from $300 to $350 for a full cord, and $200 to $250 for a half cord. A significantly inexpensive alternative is to gather your own firewood.  But what if you don’t have a land where you can harvest your own firewood trees?

What you can do is apply for a permit from your local government to cut and gather firewood logs in state trust lands. Log cutting permits are typically free.  

Where to Apply for Log Cutting Permit 

Log cutting permits can be secured from government agencies with state trust lands (e.g state and national parks). There are two ways to obtain a permit. One, you visit your local land management office or similar agency to sign the application form/ contract and pay the fees. Fees would cover the cords as use of road.  A cord would cost $5 to $20 only, depending on your location, while road use is typically 10% of the total fee for the wood. For example, if the total cost for the wood is $160, then you will pay $16 road-use fee.        

Many local agencies also make the application available online. You simply download and print the form, then submit via email. Payments can be made via credit card or e-check. Most require that you send the check with the mail.   

Governments issue permits for log cutting for several reasons. One, it allows them to generate revenue for managing of habitat and other environmental concerns. Two, firewood trees are combustible. When they are cut, chances for wildfires are also reduced. Three, the government wants to provide people opportunities for benefiting from public lands.           

Rules and Restrictions

Having a permit does not mean you can do anything in the forest. Every government agency imposes its own set of rules and restrictions that you have to abide to. Failure to comply may get you in trouble.  Here are some of the common ones.

You can only harvest trees in timbering-designated areas. Government agencies typically provide loggers a map of where they can cut logs.

  • You can only cut dead or downed trees.
  • Trees can only be cut for personal use.
  • You can only harvest certain size and species.
  • Permit is valid for a limited amount of time; you must carry it with you whenever you cut or transport firewood.
  • Permit is non-transferrable. 

See to it that you learn all the rules related to cutting of logs from the agency before applying for a permit. You don't want to go to the park, only to be told by the forest ranger you can only take out pines when you wanted hardwood.

Resources

Government Guidelines




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