Starting May 2, woodcutters will be able to obtain a free permit to cut firewood on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Forest officials say most people use the wood for home heating. The free permits allow people to use the wood for manufacturing, or other processing, but not for resale. “We are pleased to be able to offer free personal use firewood across the National Forest. This change will benefit people who rely on firewood as their primary heat source and allows us to dispose of material that otherwise would have a cost to burn or remove,” says Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa.

Don't forget you'll need to have things available when cutting and traveling

Woodcutters will still need to obtain a permit, firewood tags, map, and also have a copy of the regulations on hand when cutting and transporting firewood. The free use firewood permits, and tags will be available at Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Ranger District offices beginning May 2 and are valid through December 31. Permits will also be available at local vendors in the Methow Valley and Ellensburg; vendors will charge a $2.00 administrative fee per permit. For more information https://www.fs.usda.gov/okawen/

Do you heat your home with wood or natural gas or electricity?

Officials at PennState Extension recently did a study on the cost of heating a home, comparing wood heat to other sources of heat. The study found that wood is still the best bet for heating a home.  PennState Extension officials say however "you need to realize that there are some "nonmonetary" costs associated with wood heat. First, you need to recognize that there will be some labor involved--loading the stove, starting the fire, cleaning out the ashes. If you decide to cut and split your own wood, you'll find that there's a lot of effort involved (and make sure you're properly trained in the safe cutting of wood before you start). Second, carrying wood around the house tends to track in a bit of bark and dirt. In general, wood pellets and pellet stoves are less labor or mess, but the pellets themselves are also more expensive--it's a tradeoff between price and effort. Third, wood heat requires a bit of attention--checking the fire and adding fuel as needed. Gas and oil are usually automatic."

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