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Crossing The Line

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Joey Jones, Sep 16, 2008.

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  1. Joey Jones

    Joey Jones New Member

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    All of us in our travels have come across great amounts of wood on deserted highways. I am speaking of dead or down trees... Is it such a sin to partake of these frreebies? This is the same wood we have come aross for the last 50 years, which has mostly been left to rot. Techniccally it is stealing, but if this same wood is left to rot than who who benefits? Where does one cross the line? Most often there is not time, nor information to find the owner, but if one does; I suggest a payment for such down and dying wood. I say the rest is gravy and free for the taking , unless one has an organized a site to which is dedicated to the piling and stacking of cord wood. Taking this wood is definitely a crime as it has been designated as someones own. But much of this wood has been cut down by the turnpike authority and has no future....The men are over worked and underpaid... Can one partake of this wood with a clear conscience? I have to say yes in terms of using the earths resources as God Laid Down His Law.

    Many may say no, but check who is saying no and check their balance in the banks....and the rest of us just go to school.....This is your Country, men and women...I say take what you need and leave the rest and then one can rest with a clear conscience... That is my program and my creed,

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  2. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I say leave it unless you expressly know that you have permission. There are a couple of reasons that I feel this way, but primarily- dead and decaying trees have an important part in nature. They are homes to many species of bird, mammal, and insect that exclusively live in snags or downed logs. They also contribute to the regeneration of the forest as they decay and leave humus and nutrient. Fungus (mushrooms etc.) rely on these trees as well- and some argue that they are the cornerstone in revitalizing a forest, stabilizing soil, and boosting plant growth naturally (see Paul Stammets work on this). There are other benefits that I won't get into- but even next to the road, a decaying tree may be the start of restoration.

    Look up characteristics of old growth habitat and you will see a movement of people trying to simulate old growth or accelerate the process by tree selection and by leaving some trees down.
  3. Joey Jones

    Joey Jones New Member

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    Well most likely A.P. you are right. I have to say I have never taken a stick off from foreign soil as yet. But my thoughts say, Oh darn . this wood is going to rot.... I have seen it here for 2 years and it is still not picked up....Man make use of resorces....Seems to be GODS LAW
  4. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Man times, you can obtain permission from individuals or permits to go on public land for wood. I have a permit to cut in the woods around the local corps of engineers lake. I suppose 'me just being me' would get the permission first to avoid the 'one bad apple spoiling it for everyone' scenario.
  5. skinnykid

    skinnykid New Member

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    I have asked myself the same question. Driving around on some of these back road will show lots of trees that are down and wasting away. There is one country road that I take from my house to my parents house that has a huge Oak that snapped half ways up and is leaning on surrounding trees. It is at an entrance to a power line stretch. What an eye sore. I have often thought of taking it but don't know if I will get in trouble!

    I have spoke with the dept of forests and they do not have a public land wood harvest program in place. Bummer cuz we have lotsa trees, happy little trees!
  6. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    If it's anywhere near high tension lines, you'd best leave it. Doubly so if it is a complex scene with a split high up in the trunk. Sounds like only a crane would be safe for that one.
  7. skinnykid

    skinnykid New Member

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    No it is not close to the lines. I don't cut anything that is near anything that it can get hung up on or fall on something else. Except other trees.
  8. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    I, too, have agonized over the 'terrible waste' aspect of this, but I just don't want to face any unpleasantness. I decided I would avoid grabbing stuff I'm not sure about. OTOH I intend to not be shy in asking when I see opportunities. Meanwhile, I have so far been lucky to be offered enough wood by friends to keep me busy in my first season. I hope to keep it 100 percent scrounging here in the future.

    There was an interesting thread recently about a lot of cut wood in a cloverleaf type area next to a highway. The consensus was that it's easier to ask forgiveness later than permission up front. That sure gave me a lot to think about. OK, so some times, taking wood without permission might indeed be stealing, but this was one of those 'gray areas', being that the wood was in a public commons, but not forest or park land. I'd not blame the guy if he just took some, and I could see myself doing it too, under similar circumstances. It is indeed a crying shame to see wood lay on the ground and rot (non- forest situations, AP). ;-)
  9. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    What's the problem with asking the owner, which may be an individual or a road authority? If the logic holds as to taking because it's not being used, isn't it about the same as unsold items in stores? - just help yourself because they are just going to waste. Is one form of stealing better than another form? If you are starving, maybe. But it you are maintaining a consumptive life style, give me a break. Ask the owner.

    Waste is a matter of perspective. Just because you can't burn it does not mean it's being wasted. The down and rotting log is not waste to the soil microbes that depend on it, the insects that eat it, the birds that eat the insects, and the life cycle continues. This is a life cycle at work, natural sustainability which has worked for millions of years - and in the process gave us the oil, gas and coal we now burn with abandon.
  10. fugazi42

    fugazi42 New Member

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    Get permission before you take the wood- in writing if possible. If the wood is down along a local road contact your local DPW, if it's a state road contact the state DOT or DEP. I've talked to both in my town/state and have never been told 'no'.

    I've run into some pretty sticky situations in the past few years. I once saw an arborist crew taking down a huge sugar maple on a road side. I asked the person I assumed was the land owner if I could take the wood. He said that if there was wood left on Monday I could have it. On Monday I came with my saw and took two loads of wood. I was busy working on my third load when a guy who turns out to be the actual land owner (and about a foot taller and 2 feet wider than me and quite ticked off) asks me what the F I'm doing taking his wood. I said something about some guy said I could take it, offered him some cash for what I already took, and got out of there with my tail between my legs. Not fun.

    I've also been stopped cutting on state land by the local police more than once. I showed my permits both times and thanked the officer for looking after my wood lot :)

    Another time I was cutting on a construction site near my house when I was confronted by the son of the former land owner, claiming he still owned the land. I had a signed agreement from the construction company to cut on their property which I happily showed him and invited him to call the police to settle things. He did kick other people I saw cutting off of the land.

    Similarly, if you took wood I had dropped with the intent of picking it up later and I caught you, it wouldn't be a fiesta, 'eh?

    Josh
  11. Tfin

    Tfin New Member

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    In Maine I know you can go to the Plum Creek office in Bingham and pay $10 per cord for wood on their property. Any place (wood yards) that they've obviously moved on from is open game. You just can't go and start cutting up a stack of tree length they have in a yard they're still operating in.

    The permit is good for three months. Of course depending on where you live in relation to their property, you have to take the price of gas into account in determining whether or not its worth it.
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