Saturday, March 2, 2024

Forest road conditions postpone firewood cutting permit sales


WENATCHEE - National Forests provide so much--clean air, water, jobs, food, wood, and more.  Each year, thousands of people heat their homes with firewood gathered from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
 Due to the record snowpack, state-wide it’s 120 percent of normal according to Department of Ecology’s website, most national forest roads remain snow covered and not accessible via wheeled vehicles.
 “Permits for gathering firewood from the Tonasket Ranger District are usually available for purchase beginning April 1,” said Tonasket District Ranger Matt Reidy.  “This year, though, there is still a lot of snow on forest roads and they are impassable for wheeled vehicles.”
 Currently, that is the situation across most of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Ranger district personnel across the forest will assess road conditions as snow melts off.   Although the first day of spring has past, winter-like conditions still exist in the forest so it may take a while for roads to melt out and become firm enough to support motor vehicle use.
 “Our normal woodcutting season is May 1 through Dec 31,” said Methow Valley District Ranger Mike Liu.  “We may open certain areas a little early this year because winter logging operations plowed out certain roads and they are melting and drying out faster as a result, but all other areas are still snow covered.”
 In past years, depending upon road and weather conditions, woodcutting permits became available for sale starting as early as April 1 on some ranger districts, but
 Forest users are encouraged to contact local ranger district offices for information on current road conditions and the woodcutting permit program.  Information is also available on the forest’s website at .


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