Cutting and using green wood on public land?

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by dawgvet, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. dawgvet

    dawgvet Tracker

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    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
     
  2. GrandLarsony

    GrandLarsony Guide

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    Rut-roh here we go... :eek:

    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: Mar 6, 2013
  3. cucumberfly

    cucumberfly Scout

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    I use saplings for various things
     
  4. justin_baker

    justin_baker Bushmaster

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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.
     
  5. foresterfrench

    foresterfrench Tracker

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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.
     
  6. x39

    x39 Supporter Supporter

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    First, find out from a reliable source what the law is, second obey the law. Real simple.
     
  7. snapper

    snapper Scout

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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.
     
  8. NorthernFrontiersman

    NorthernFrontiersman Tracker

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    I try to find freshly fallen trees
     
  9. riverjoe

    riverjoe Supporter Supporter

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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 .
     
  10. Skab

    Skab Staff Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    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.
     
  11. stronghorse

    stronghorse Guide

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    You may also want to check with your public land officials about their policies and position on cutting and using invasive species trees like Mimosa, Tree-of-Heaven, and Chinese Privet - for example??? Hope this helps.:14:
     
  12. injun51

    injun51 Supporter Supporter

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    I think using what you have to, while staying within the confines of the law, is perfectly fine as long as you aren't taking from an area with little to no new growth.

    The top of a mountain where said wood could easily be over 100 years old but still look like scrub brush due to the harsh climate it took root in would be a place to seek out other forms of building/burning materials.

    Just my 2ยข
     
  13. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Guide Vendor Supporter Bushclass II

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    +1, there is a massive quantity of Autumn Olive here and I try to use only invasives to fill my green wood needs. I do not know a single wildlife officer that would fine you for cutting an invasive. If anything i would think they would thank you for targeting invasive species.
     
  14. Exy

    Exy Supporter Supporter

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    Green wood dulls my blade supa fast yo.
     
  15. Old Dirty Bushman

    Old Dirty Bushman Scout

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    This is my SOP as well. You're not supposed to cut down living trees/bushes in the area I frequent. But if it's a plant that is generally considered a weed or pest, nobody is going to cry about it. Fell a Popcorn Tree (aka Chinese Tallow) and they won't blink an eye. Fell a White Cypress (aka White Cedar) and you'll get a stern reaction.
     
  16. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Supporter Supporter

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    privet is of the devil ...
     
  17. stronghorse

    stronghorse Guide

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    :18: too funny!
     
  18. VinoNoir

    VinoNoir Guide

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    If I'm not mistaken, I believe it's the other way around. Green wood is softer and more pliable than dead (not rotten) wood. Therefore, it would stand to reason that dead wood dulls a blade faster...
     
  19. Mudman

    Mudman Guide Vendor

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    lol here we go...
     
  20. RangerXanatos

    RangerXanatos Scout

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    I think it's a legitimate question. Some tasks are done better/easier with green wood and vice versa with other tasks. Whistles, pot hooks, and my bow drill sets from chinese privet are all gathered when they are green.

    If you make your bow from a dead limb (granted it's not rotten and falls apart), you may find that the bow won't bend as you're bowing and make the push and pull strokes more efficient.
     
  21. chiefs50

    chiefs50 Banned Member Banned

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    Obey the law. We have enough forces assaulting our natural areas as it is. We should set the standard when it comes to respecting the environment. Leave no trace.
     
  22. Exy

    Exy Supporter Supporter

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    Maybe its just me, but some woods are more difficult to split when green, and they seem like they dull my blade quicker. Other woods don't have this issue. But the ones that seem more difficult to split also seem like they dull faster, but maybe I'm just imagining that because these are harder to split. Perhaps its just a difference in regions/woods. Some woods seem to act the same green or dry.
     
  23. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Supporter Supporter

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    privet will dull your blade, break your handle, slap you in the face, and ask you, in an entirely disparaging way, "who's yer daddy?"

    privet is satan's very spawn. its demonic minion is kudzu ...
     
  24. Xtrekker

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    If the Rules of the land is to leave green growth alone then you should obey the laws. There is generally a reason why National Parks and Forests do not want you cutting down saplings or just general green growth. If everybody that frequented the area, cut down a sapling for their bushcraft, thinking it was just 1 sapling and it wouldnt hurt anything, then when you add up all the others that come along behind them and do the same, you end up with alot of damage to a forest. 1000s frequent the national parks each season, if not more in some areas. When I go to SNP in late spring, I generally see almost a hundred people over the course of a weekend.
    If it is allowed then sure have at it, but if it is banned, then leave it be.
     

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