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Forest Fuelwood Cutting To Start

The Forest Service today announced that this year´s Personal-Use Fuelwood season opens Thursday, April 1, and will continue through November 30, depending on Forest road conditions. Personal-Use Fuelwood Permits will be available to the public at all Forest offices on the season´s opening day.

“The Forest is ready to open for annual wood cutting season. Our front desk customer service staffs are ready to issue permits, answer questions, and help forest visitors enjoy their National Forest this spring,” said Forest Supervisor Tom Quinn. Forest offices will make Personal-Use Fuelwood Permits available to the public starting this Thursday, April 1, with fuelwood gathering effective on the same day, provided Forest roads are open and dry enough for travel.

Generally favorable spring weather, and drier road conditions allow the April 1 opening of fuelwood season. Personal-use fuelwood season should continue until middle to late November, if weather and conditions permit, and Forest roads and resources can be protected. Fuelwood permits are available for purchase at Forest offices, and fuelwood is priced at $10.00 per cord, with a 2-cord minimum and 10-cord maximum for each household.

To provide for safety, protect vital access routes, and care for the land, Forest managers are asking visitors to use common sense when driving Forest roads. Visitors are asked to adjust their driving to current weather and Forest road conditions. Driving on soft, muddy, rain-soaked unsurfaced Forest roads can easily cause deep wheel ruts, possibly resulting in road damage and soil erosion. Traveling on drier roads helps to reduce maintenance costs and protects forest resources.

Fuelwood cutters are asked to carefully review and fully comply with the terms specified on their permits. This includes making sure to have a shovel and an approved fire extinguisher readily available at the cutting site, and to check that chainsaws are equipped with an approved, serviceable spark arrestor. Fuelwood cutters also must have their permit present with them at the cutting site. Fuelwood loads must be clearly marked, with this year´s tags properly punched and attached to the rear of the load, and with the month and day clearly marked on each tag.

All wood cutting regulations are strictly enforced, and fuelwood cutters are reminded that use of an internal combustion saw on a “no cut day” is prohibited. Before heading out, fuelwood cutters should call (209) 532-5601 for a pre-recorded message, or check at any open Ranger Station to find out if that day is a permissible “cut day.”

Motor vehicle travel is permitted up to 100 feet from roads, routes, and established travel ways for direct access to woodcutting, provided that 1.) No resource damage occurs; and 2.) such access is not otherwise prohibited. Personal-Use Fuelwood gathering is limited to 10 cords per household each calendar year. Only dead and down material may be taken, and all firewood must be cut less than 6 feet in length prior to hauling.

Visitors are encouraged to contact their local Ranger Station for an update on conditions before heading out. Woodcutters may obtain Personal-Use Fuelwood permits at all Stanislaus National Forest offices. Office business hours for obtaining Personal-Use Fuelwood Permits are currently as follows:

Groveland Ranger Station (located along Highway 120, east of Groveland) open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday [phone (209) 962-7825].

Summit Ranger Station (located along Highway 108, in Pinecrest) open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday [phone (209) 965-3434].

Calaveras Ranger Station (located along Highway 4 in Hathaway Pines) open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday [phone (209) 795-1381].

Mi-Wok Ranger Station (located along Highway 108 in Mi-Wuk Village) open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday [phone (209) 586-3234].

Sonora Forest Supervisor´s Office (located in Sonora at 19777 Greenley Road) open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday [phone (209) 532-3671].

The public may also obtain Personal Use Fuel-wood Permits through the mail. A permit application can be mailed to anyone who contacts a Forest office at the above listed telephone numbers. Additionally, woodcutting information and a permit application is retrievable on the Forest website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/stanislaus/permits/fuelwood.shtml.

With the arrival of warmer weather, Forest front desk customer service staffs are gearing up for another busy spring, summer, and fall recreation season. As always, Forest visitors will be able to pick up their campfire permits and wilderness permits, purchase maps and books, enjoy interpretive programs, and get information at Forest offices on all the best places to camp, hike, fish, swim, and backpack.