JOHN DAY – Firewood cutters can use ATVs in legal collection of wood on the Malheur National Forest, a subject that stirred public discussion in recent months.
Steve Beverlin, deputy forest supervisor, recently issued a clarification of the ATV rules. The allowed use also is now spelled out in the language of the firewood permits issued by the Malheur.
Vehicle use comes up in several places on the revised permit. The permit notes:
• “Use of rubber tired vehicles” on open roads is allowed to load personal firewood as long as it doesn’t impede safe use of the road.
• ATVs with winches can be used to gather personal-use firewood on open roads or within 150 feet of open roads.
In both cases the permit specifies the wood must be in lengths less than 8 feet.
Open roads are defined as those not closed by a sign, pole barricade, or locked gate, or intentionally blocked by a berm, logs or boulders.
Two other national forests – the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman – recently announced their firewood seasons will end Sunday, Nov. 30.
The Malheur doesn’t set a season end – with one exception – but allows firewood cutting by permit as long as conditions allow the activity without resource damage and as long as the individual’s permit is valid.
The season exception is for Western larch, or tamarack, which loses its needles in the fall so the live trees may appear to be dead. Standing larch may not be cut or removed between Nov. 1 and April 30, although downed, dead larch can be removed year-round.
Cutters also need to be aware of possible seasonal road closures for wildlife management, fire recovery and other reasons. The permit notes that trees may not be cut in some areas, including timber sale projects, streamside buffers, wilderness and campgrounds and research plots.
The Forest Service reminds all firewood cutters that they must have a valid permit with them when they work in the woods.