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Thread: Cutting and using green wood on public land?

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    Tracker dawgvet's Avatar
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    Default Cutting and using green wood on public land?

    I am new to the bushcraft scene, but not the woods and backpacking/camping in general. I have really enjoyed learning all the neat things you can make or carve once in the woods but my question is this: since most of us have to use public land for our outings, what do you do when you need green wood to make things from? This would apply to pot hooks, bending bows for bow-drill friction fire, boughs for certain shelters, etc. Most of the National Forest land an Wildlife Management Areas here in Georgia stipulate not using or cutting live trees if I understand correctly. Really enjoy learning all this stuff, just trying to find legal places to put it to practice.
    Thanks,
    Jed

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    Rut-roh here we go...

    Edit: I'm editing my post because I didn't want to seem like a jerk. This has just recently been discussed with lots of opinions on each side, but the bottom line is you need to decide for yourself how to handle this situation.

    For me, since you asked, I'm careful to only use what I really need and never take living things where they are scarce. So, in real terms, there are so damn many little trees around where I hike & camp that I'm not doing any harm whatsoever. Taking them from the top of a mountain where there are few and erosion will be a big problem is not something I would consider doing, however. There is plenty of fallen dead-wood for fires, too, but I usually can make due with a small armfull of sticks.
    Last edited by GrandLarsony; 03-06-2013 at 02:09 PM.

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    I use saplings for various things

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    Head to the woods after a big storm and look for a tree that fell over recently. It will be dead and legal to use but also green.

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    On National Forests standing dead or down timber (alive or dead) may be cut. Personal use firewood for use off of the Forest may require a permit. This permit may be free or there may be a fee. Some times the permit will allow cutting of green timber. Gathering of fuel wood for recreational use on the Forest (camp firess) is allowed if the wood in dead or down. Some areas such as administrative sites and developed campgrounds are typically closed to fuel wood gathering. Designated wilderness may be more restrictive. Green boughs generally can not be cut.

    Again this is for National Forests. Not for National Parks, State Parks, BLM, Fish and Wildlife Areas, and on and on. I got tired of saying "usually" "normally" and "may be" infront of all of my sentences. But read them all that way. Best advice is call the Ranger District involved and ask. Some Forest Service employees can be very strict in their interpretation of what is allowed and what is prohibited. Others can be more reasonable.

    All this said after 30 years with the agency. Good luck.

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    First, find out from a reliable source what the law is, second obey the law. Real simple.
    Do something! You're dead a long time, and it's later than you think.

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    Here's my situation...I'm a licensed guide in NYS and for that reason am required to obey all Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) rules and regulations as they pertain to the entire state; not just state land. If I violate, or am knowingly with another person who violates, any NYS regulations I can have my guide's license revoked. For that reason I'm ultra careful as to what I do and who I'm with when traveling/camping in state; especially while on state land. While I'd love to do a lot of what folks share here on this forum, I'm going to need to find an agreeable private landowner to do so.

    BTW, when I say any environmental regulation, I'm not kidding. Even burning leaves in the fall could put me in a position where my license can be taken away from me if an Econ Officer wants to make a big deal of it. For me, this isn't something to quibble with.

    That's all for now. Take care and until next time...Be well.

    snapper

    PS - Not to open up any old wounds but this is why I've asked questions in the past about backcountry practices I've seen on this forum. It's not that I'm against what folks show in their videos. I've just wondered what the regs have been where they are located.

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    I try to find freshly fallen trees

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    Obey the law for sure . What I do if it is not expressly forbidden is use invasive bush/trees .
    We have a real problem with Bush Honey suckle and Autumn Olive and from time to time environemental groups will take to the woods to try and eradicate them . ( nearly impossibel ) Bush Honeysuckel especially is great and I have made ....Spiles for maple syrup cause it has a pith center .
    Spindle for friction fire since it has a pith center . Arrows from the shoots . Bundle bows for primitive bow hunting . Walking sticks cause it is so easy to straighten over a fire .

    I want to make a native american type sled next cause you can shape it so easily .

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    Quote Originally Posted by dawgvet View Post
    I am new to the bushcraft scene, but not the woods and backpacking/camping in general. I have really enjoyed learning all the neat things you can make or carve once in the woods but my question is this: since most of us have to use public land for our outings, what do you do when you need green wood to make things from? This would apply to pot hooks, bending bows for bow-drill friction fire, boughs for certain shelters, etc. Most of the National Forest land an Wildlife Management Areas here in Georgia stipulate not using or cutting live trees if I understand correctly. Really enjoy learning all this stuff, just trying to find legal places to put it to practice.
    Thanks,
    Jed
    I won't get into the legalities of any of the above mentioned, but I will point out that the stuff in bold, can just as easily be done with dead, dry wood. I actually prefer my bows for bow drill to be dead, and stiff.

    I would recommend you just look for different ways of doing things.
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