National Forests and Grasslands throughout the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Region will continue to offer free firewood and other forest product gathering for personal use for the remainder of 2020, but the agency is asking that the public first call to obtain a hard–copy permit in order to track harvesting and communicate important wildfire safety and collection information.
Those interested in collecting firewood and other forest products and botanicals need to first contact their local Forest Service office by phone and provide their contact details, and a free, hard–copy permit will be issued by mail. In–person pickup at a local ranger station may also be available, depending upon location, and will comply with the Center for Disease Control’s requirements for social distancing. The permit will be valid now through December 30th, 2020.
The free permits allow for the removal of downed timber or the cutting of standing dead trees for personal firewood under most conditions on National Forests and Grasslands within Montana, Northern Idaho, and portions of North and South Dakota. They do not allow for the collection of more limited post and poles/rails or for any commercial harvesting. Those permits will still require a fee. They also do not apply to collecting products on other public lands such as the Bureau of Land Management.
Woodcutters can obtain permits for up to 12 cords of firewood for personal use.
The collection of many other forest products outside of firewood do not require a permit. For example, up to five gallons of mushrooms can be gathered without a permit on all units throughout the region. But the requirements for some products like berries varies by forest, so it is still important to call ahead for updated local requirements.
For more information, contact the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests office at (208) 935-2513. (U.S. Forest Service)