Over 600 Cords of Firewood Gathered from the Barlow Ranger District
Hundreds of people will be able to enjoy cozy fires this winter due to a partnership between Wasco County and the Mt. Hood National Forest. Over 600 cords of firewood were cut and cleared from the Barlow Ranger District over the past few weeks. Cheryl Sonnabend, Eastside Special Forest Products Coordinator, worked with many forest staff specialists to facilitate the project. And the public has responded in a big way filling dozens of trucks with many cords of wood—attracting people from all over the region to cut firewood logs nearly 24 hours a day 7 days per week.
People of all ages and backgrounds came to the forest to gather firewood. One family travelled four hours using a GPS unit to get to the Badger Lake area where most of the firewood was located and spent the day gathering their five cord limit. They still felt it was aworthwhile investment since the downed logs were decked and were located right along the road ready to be cut into firewood-sized logs. The family especially appreciated the firewood because they were from the Portland area where firewood often isn’t readilyavailable and is fairly expensive.
Another wood cutting team from the Portland area made the job into an assembly line of sorts: while one was cutting wood and loading a truck, the other was loading the cut wood into a trailer just off of the 4860 Forest Road. One of the men worked for a logging outfit and usually buys wood from his employer but wood wasn’t offered this year so the long drive was well-worth it.
Yet others took advantage of the opportunity to experience some iconic areas of the Forest while gathering firewood. Many people gathering wood took their lunches at the nearby beautiful Badger Lake. Many individuals reported thatthey developed a much greater appreciation for and connection to forestlands due to these wood harvesting programs.
This partnership with the public serves the forest in important ways too. While providing members of the public with forest products, we are also restoringovergrown sections of forests,and removing much of the dead and down wood reduces risk of catastrophic fires by removing potential fuels. “In most cases, you really can’t even tell that there were huge log decks on the ground due to the clean, efficient, and conscientious manner by which the wood has been gathered,” said Hernandez. “In this way, both the Forest and the individuals gathering wood get what they need and both are better off.”