DNR selling fuelwood permits early

February 7, 2014

In response to residents’ heating energy needs during Michigan’s exceptional winter, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that it is now selling fuelwood permits – a month and a half before the traditional starting date of April 1.

“Michigan’s vast forest resources provide many products and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors,” said Bill O’Neill, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division, who also serves as state forester. “In addition to those who use firewood when hunting or camping, others rely on this resource to heat their homes at a lower cost.”

Fuelwood permits cost $20, are for use on designated state forest land in the northern two-thirds of the state and allow for collection of up to five standard cords of wood per household. Fuelwood collected with the permit can be used for personal use only and cannot be resold or traded. The permits are good for 90 days.

Because of the unique winter, one additional fuelwood permit may be purchased this calendar year, in addition to this emergency permit.

A person may qualify for reimbursement if enrolled in the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) run by the Michigan Department of Human Services.

Areas likely open for fuelwood collection are recent commercial timber harvesting operations on state forest land. Tops, branches and trees on the ground can be collected. Check with your local DNR office for other available options for fuelwood collection.

Fuelwood permits can be obtained at DNR field offices and operations service centers. These offices will also have information on loggers who are working on DNR timber sales on state land who might have wood available for sale or collection.

In the southern Lower Peninsula, there is no state forest land but there are state game areas that are managed primarily for wildlife habitat.

“In some areas, dead trees are not important components of the desired wildlife habitat; therefore, firewood permits are issued for those areas,” said Doug Reeves, assistant chief of the DNR’s Wildlife Division. “In other areas, dead trees, limbs and piles of woody debris provide important den, nest and feeding sites for the wildlife species — no firewood permits are issued for those areas.”

As another option for folks looking to heat their homes with wood, the DNR is working with the Michigan Association of Timbermen (MAT) to connect people with loggers who are selling fuelwood.

According to MAT’s executive director Brenda Owen, the organization has approximately 400 members across the state, many of whom are involved with selling fuelwood. For more information about MAT and its members, visit www.timbermen.org or call 906-293-3236.

In addition to DNR fuelwood permits, the U.S. Forest Service offers permits for gathering dead and down firewood; these cost $20 and are issued at district offices. These federal permits are available for the Ottawa, Hiawatha and Huron-Manistee national forests in Michigan. Firewood cutting permits do not authorize the cutting of live trees.

For more information about the DNR’s fuelwood permits, visit www.michigan.gov/fuelwood

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