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Filed under: Family Camping, Nature & Wildlife, Preparation & Readiness, State & National Parks

Transporting Firewood, Not Worth the Price Our Forests Pay

September 20, 2010 by · 9 Comments 


campfire at nightHow many times have I taken my firewood with me on camping trips? Sometimes I would save the unused to burn at home or take on the next trip.  So many through the years, I feel terrible about it now.  I recently learned that my old habit of stocking up on cheap fire wood and taking it with me on my camping trips is an extremely bad habit!

I love the great outdoors, I cherish our National Forests. I am a true “Tree Hugger” at heart. Yet, I was clueless to the damage I could be causing by transporting firewood from one area to another.

The transporting of firewood has become a major concern for our forest in the last few years. So much so, that many places have started implementing quarantines and tough restrictions on importation of wood, including firewood. The United States now has very strict regulations about all hardwood coming from Canada. And Canada has recently expanded their import regulations on firewood to include the United States. Even transporting firewood from one part of a state or province to another can pose a serious threat to our precious forests. Many of our National and State Parks have regulations now that firewood must be purchased after arrival at the park you are visiting.

The problem is insects, bacteria and fungus. When an insect that has the potential to destroy a tree is transported to a new location where there is no natural predator to keep its numbers at bay, the insect population can explode and do an unbelievable amount of damage. The infestation can spread and destroy before anyone even knows it has arrived in the area.

Firewood (and all wood) can be heat treated to ensure that no nasty little pest are hitching a ride. Many places, including the U.S. / Canada border now require that all wood crossing be accompanied by a certificate showing the wood has been through this process and given a clean bill of health.

So, that free firewood just down the way from your home is great for home, but don’t take it on the road. Those pesky little hitchhikers can do a lot of damage to our beautiful forests!

Always observe basic fire safety rules and have a great time!


9 Responses to “Transporting Firewood, Not Worth the Price Our Forests Pay”
  1. Genevieve says:

    Wow. This never occurred to me either. What a great post.

  2. Chuck says:

    It think it is just a bunch of governmental hype- If it is really a problem, they should provide the campfire wood for campers at state & fed campgrounds free of charge from all of the wood they cut while clearing areas from fire dangers, rather than just burning it or charging the outlandish prices they charge.

  3. don says:

    Use fire logs 9- 5lb logs cost around $25 and one log will burn for around 3 hours. Easy to transport, easy to light, makes a nice spark free fire with little smoke. Its not govn’t hype and why sould the tax payers provide you with free fire wood?

  4. Ruth says:

    I sort of agree with Chuck that it would be nice if campgrounds would offer a supply of wood. Doesn’t necessarily have to be free, but affordable would be nice. $5 for a few sticks of wood doesn’t cut it for us. And as for the fire log, I’m not sure I would want my steak cooking over chemically treated sawdust.

  5. Eileen says:

    Chuck: Agreed. I wonder why I haven’t heard of this before if it is such a problem. Don: Where do you purchase the fire logs and, well, we may have already paid for the wood if tax dollars were used to clear the land. What is being done with the wood when (if) cleared? Why not have it available to campers at State and National Parks?

  6. RA Manseau says:

    In many of our National Forest they will allow you to cut up firewood for personal use. (Permit is required.) Some also grant commercial permits for a higher fee. This is a very affordable way to attain firewood. The permit generally only grants permission for downed or dead trees. Policies vary from park to park so check with the ranger station of the park you are visiting. Generally, you will need a chainsaw and a fire extinguisher (chemical at least 8 lbs) and there will be a limit as to how much wood you can take and where in the park you can cut it.

    By granting permits to cut firewood our National Parks are kept up without costing the tax payer a small fortune. As for this being a government hype, the Wayne National Forest in Southeastern Ohio is on the road to extinction due to an infestation of the destructive emerald ash borer. This insect was first discovered in the area in 2003 and has spread so fast that the whole state is now quarantined. This is a very real problem.

  7. Jim Walters says:

    $5 for 5 pieces of firewood is a bit ridiculous and is more like the big city grocery store price level. Let the Yuppie types pay for it. This old country boy can’t handle the idea of paying for wood that taxpayers already own. As a previous poster noted, steaks done over chemically treated sawdust don’t quite work either. I have no problem with the additional revenue wood sales bring in to the park, but at least give us who know what end of an axe or saw to use an alternative.

  8. RA Manseau says:

    Jim, As I said many National Parks do give permits for cutting your own wood. Just ask the Park Rangers about the policy at the park you are visiting.

  9. Highcountry says:

    National Forests and Parks have FAR too many rules and regulations as it is NOW. I don’t go as much as I once did due to the Bureocratic B.S. that has infiltrated the wilderness. Nothing would suit the very small, but very LOUD wacko crowd better than to make National Forests ‘off limits’ to real people and only allow them to be seen from government monitored viewing areas!

    If we can not enjoy it, then it is not worth supporting with Tax Dollars.


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