11/6/2012 1:47:00 PM Information on fall woodcutting in our area
Submitted by Robin DeMario, USFS Wenatchee Forest Service
cutting restrictions have been lifted, woodcutters are in a rush to cut their winter supply of firewood before snow blankets the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Already, high elevation peaks are covered with snow and more is predicted.
Many local residents rely upon firewood from the national forests to heat their homes during the winter. For those folks who have never gone woodcutting before, there are a few things to keep in mind. A woodcutting permit is required. Permits are available at all Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest offices.
The minimum woodcutting permit purchase is four cords for $20 and the maximum purchase is 12 cords for $60. Individuals purchasing woodcutting permits need to present a driver's license or other form of picture identification at the time of purchase; they will also need to supply their phone number and address.
The permit and woodcutting stubs must be in the woodcutter's possession when cutting firewood. A woodcutting area map is a necessity. These maps show the areas that are open and closed to woodcutting and are available free with the woodcutting permits.
Area closures remain in effect for many of the fires that burned this fall; don't expect to be able to go into these areas to cut firewood-they are closed to entry due to public safety concerns.
Be sure to read all conditions and requirements listed on the woodcutting permit. Part of those conditions includes the requirement that after shutting off the chainsaw woodcutters need to remain in the area at least one hour to watch for any potential fire starts from woodcutting equipment.
Woodcutters need to validate the woodcutting stub (load ticket) by cutting out or marking out with a permanent pen the month and day that woodcutting occurs, and the stub must be attached to the load when the vehicle is moved from the cutting site.
Generally, woodcutters may cut down wood and standing dead trees (except wildlife habitat trees). Be aware that western larch, also known as tamarack, drops its needles and may look dead, but isn't.
It is a good idea to scope out an area for wood before purchasing a woodcutting permit; the permits are not refundable. After narrowing down the "choice" woodcutting spot, purchasing the woodcutting permit, and packing up the friends and family who will help cut wood, don't forget to bring along the safety items that are listed on the woodcutting permit--a chainsaw with the proper exhaust system in good repair with a screen-type spark arrestor, a long-handled shovel, and a fire extinguisher.
Things to keep in mind when woodcutting:
~ Carry extra food, water, and clothing in the vehicle in case weather conditions change drastically and you get stuck in the woods
~ Let someone know where you plan to go and when you will return home
~ Wear suitable shoes or boots to insure good traction
~ Be aware of the limits of your vehicle and consider the restrictions in maneuverability when the vehicle is full of firewood
~ Drive slowly and defensively
~ Firewood permits are good through December 31 in the calendar year purchased, or until areas are no longer accessible.
~ One cord of firewood measures 4 feet x 4 feet x 8 feet.
~ Always be aware of the fire precaution level on the day that woodcutting will occur.
For more information about woodcutting permits or special woodcutting areas, contact individual ranger district offices.
The cost is $30 for an annual pass and $5 for a day use pass. For information about the Northwest Forest Pass call 1-800-270-7504 or to order it online go to www.naturenw.org. America the Beautiful-National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Passes will be honored at all Northwest Forest Pass sites.
Wenatchee area: Northwest Forest passes are available at Arlberg Sports Inc., Hooked on Toys, Bi-Mart and Mountain Air Gear.
Lake Wenatchee area: Passes are available at Midway Village Grocery, Parkside Grocery and Plain Hardware.
Leavenworth area: In Leavenworth passes are available at Der Sportsmann, Icicle Quik Stop 76 gas station, Sleeping Lady Mountain Retreat Gift Shop, and Pioneer Market in Cashmere.
WENATCHEE RIVER RANGER DISTRICT
The new office phone number is (509) 548-2550.
WINTER OFFICE HOURS: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Lake Wenatchee Ranger Station is no longer open for visitor services.
ROADS: Please check the district website for information on current road conditions. Winter conditions now exist across some areas of the district. Snow can close forest roads, or make them inaccessible, at any time. Please do not go around the gates on closed roads.
Chiwawa Road No. 6200 is open
White River Road No. 6400 is open
Little Wenatchee Road No. 6500 is open
Smithbrook/Rainy Creek Road No. 6700 is open
Mission Creek Road No. 7100 is CLOSED due to flood damage from the junction of Number Two Canyon Road No. 7101 to the junction with Beehive Road No. 9712. The road is unsafe for travel.
No. 2 Canyon Road is CLOSED for the season.
Tip Top Road No. 7202 is impassable one mile from the junction of Camas Creek Road No. 7200 due to road damage.
Scotty Creek Road No. 7324 is CLOSED to wheeled motor vehicles 3.5 miles north of Blewett Pass due to road damage. Bridge construction has begun just off Hwy 97 on the north side, so the areas above the bridge may only be accessed from the other side of Old Blewett Hwy.
Walker Canyon Road No. 7510 is CLOSED to wheeled motor vehicles due to a mudslide in Clark Canyon.
Eightmile Road No. 7601 is open.
Van Creek Road No. 7520 is open.
Beehive Road No. 9712 is open to Beehive Reservoir.
Icicle Creek Road is open.
All district campgrounds are closed for the season. No camping fees are being charged, and no campground facilities will be maintained throughout the winter.
· BE CAUTIOUS FOR SNAGS or DEBRIS NEAR BURN AREAS.
· Eightmile Road has re-opened. Be advised, Eightmile Road may close at any time due to snow.
· Colchuck Lake and Stuart Lake trails (including Aasgard Pass) have re-opened.
· Eightmile Lake, Caroline Lake and Trout Creek to Windy Pass trails are still CLOSED due to trail damage and rehabilitation efforts from the fire.
HUNTING SEASONS: For your personal safety, wear hunter orange while recreating in the woods during hunting season.
· Black bear hunting season is August 15 to November 15
· Forest grouse hunting season is September 1 to December 31