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Public can cut fuelwood

MARQUETTE — For the second year in a row, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will offer free permits to cut fuelwood from dead and downed trees in approved areas of Michigan’s state forests.

The fuelwood season began Monday, earlier than in previous years, to help people who might be facing economic hardship during the heating season due to COVID-19.

“We are trying to make the permit process as simple and effective as possible,” said Jeff Stampfly, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division, in a news release.

Like last year, residents need to use an online permit which can be found at Michigan.gov/Fuelwood. First, use the fuelwood map button to locate the township and range where you would like to collect. Then, use the Fuelwood Permit button to bring up a fillable .pdf document. Complete the form, enter the township and range of the map that you use (for example, T22N, R09W), and then print, sign and carry it with you when you go to cut wood. Note that permits are for use on designated state forest land in the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula. The quality and quantity of dead wood varies by location.

DNR staffers suggest you visit the site where you plan to cut before applying for a permit. Some sites still may be inaccessible due to snow this month, so it is recommended to check the area where you plan to cut to make sure you can reach it before filling out the permit form.

Fuelwood permits allow for collection of up to five standard cords of wood per household. Wood is for personal use only and cannot be resold or traded. Wood must be dead and down within 200 feet of a road. No off-road use of vehicles is permitted to gather wood.

Permits are good for 90 days after they are issued; all permits expire Dec. 31 regardless of issue date.

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