What's the rule/law for roadside wood?!

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thinkxingu

Minister of Fire
Jun 3, 2007
1,125
S.NH
OK, so there's a ton of down oak trees around my house, on the side of the road. The problem is, some of the places are developments, so I wouldn't know who to ask about it.

SO, is there a rule or law that governs down trees on the side of the road (or within a certain distance)?!

S
 

LLigetfa

Minister of Fire
Nov 9, 2008
7,360
NW Ontario
Yes, you need to have permission to take it. The road allowance is just that, an allowance to use the road, not an allowance to take the wood. The wood is owned by someone whether they choose to let it rot or not.

This Summer the hydro utility cleared their ROW across my land and if someone helped themselves to it without asking then God have mercy on them.
 

PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
1,986
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Start asking around to find out who owns the wood and who you have to talk to and ask if any of it is available; you'd be suprised how many times they say "help yourself". And get a NAME of the person who okays you to take it, write it down and keep it on you in case anyone "questions" you about it-that way you are free and clear and will have a clear-conscience.

Most times people say take it because it is that dirty 4 letter word to them W-O-R-K....

Good luck!
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,289
North Eastern MA
PA. Woodsman said:
Start asking around to find out who owns the wood and who you have to talk to and ask if any of it is available; you'd be suprised how many times they say "help yourself". And get a NAME of the person who okays you to take it, write it down and keep it on you in case anyone "questions" you about it-that way you are free and clear and will have a clear-conscience.

Most times people say take it because it is that dirty 4 letter word to them W-O-R-K....

Good luck!
This reminds me of an incident a few years ago when I got "permission" from my Town's Forestry/Trails and Parks committee to take fallen trees from Town Forestry property. Well, after nearly loading my pickup truck with some great oak and beech the town's chief of police payed me a visit in the woods and announced on his Megaphone "stop the chainsaw". He nearly arrested me for "stealing" public property. Since I correctly identified the town official who gave me permission, he let me go with just a 'warning'. And he even let me keep my load of wood! :snake:
 

SlyFerret

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2007
1,532
Delaware, Ohio
Knocking on doors definitely pays!!

Most folks are happy to have it hauled off.

I had one lady that wanted me to pay her for the wood, because she had paid the tree service a lot of money to cut the tree down. I told her "I can buy wood cut, split, delivered, and stacked for $130/cord. I don't pay for wood that I have to haul and process myself. Thanks, but no thanks".

So far, she's been the only one who has wanted to wheel and deal. Everybody else has told me "go for it, get it out of here!"

-SF
 

Lumber-Jack

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2008
2,007
Beautiful British Columbia
fire_man said:
PA. Woodsman said:
Start asking around to find out who owns the wood and who you have to talk to and ask if any of it is available; you'd be suprised how many times they say "help yourself". And get a NAME of the person who okays you to take it, write it down and keep it on you in case anyone "questions" you about it-that way you are free and clear and will have a clear-conscience.

Most times people say take it because it is that dirty 4 letter word to them W-O-R-K....

Good luck!
This reminds me of an incident a few years ago when I got "permission" from my Town's Forestry/Trails and Parks committee to take fallen trees from Town Forestry property. Well, after nearly loading my pickup truck with some great oak and beech the town's chief of police payed me a visit in the woods and announced on his Megaphone "stop the chainsaw". He nearly arrested me for "stealing" public property. Since I correctly identified the town official who gave me permission, he let me go with just a 'warning'. And he even let me keep my load of wood! :snake:
Wow! crime must be really slow in your area. :-/
 

Wood Duck

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2009
4,790
Central PA
I think the rules vary by state and municipality, but i don't think there are too many places where roadside wood is up for grabs. Wood that is placed at the curb for disposal is probably legal to pick up in most places, but I think you're talking about wood that is just cut and left along the road, which is different than wood placed there for trash pickup. I do think most wood left by the roadside is unwanted and could be had for the asking, but legally you have to ask, and some small percentage of that wood the land owner wants, so you'd be ripping someone off if you took it. I think in most states the road and roadside are actually on private property, so it is clear that the wood there belongs to the landowner.
 

Stihl Country

New Member
Jan 14, 2010
25
Davidson Co. N.C.
Here in North Carolina the property owner claims everything up to the edge of the road.
 

fossil

Accidental Moderator
Sep 30, 2007
10,568
Bend, OR
I kinda think that the safest assumption, at least for me, is that if it ain't mine, then it ain't mine. Rick
 

Scotty0844

Member
Dec 7, 2009
37
Eastern Shore,Maryland
I'm a surveyor so I work around alot of housing developments. usually theres a construction trailer for the site work/general contractor. If you don't see one go to the sales trailer or model home site. Ask for the site superintendent. Most of the time they will tell you to have at it because it cost them in time, fuel, and disposal cost at the landfill to rid themselves of it. As for the side of th road finds, I would leave them alone. Normally the ROW for the road only extends to the top of the back side of the ditch, or if power lines are present, to the pole line. Most people tend to think that they own right up to the edge of the pavement, so to spare yourself some arguing and a possible visit from johnny law, I'd leave the stuff on the side of the road be.
 

thinkxingu

Minister of Fire
Jun 3, 2007
1,125
S.NH
OK, the short answer is TAKE IT! Just kidding; I'll do some research.

It just looks so...tempting! Sitting all alone there, just waitin' to be cut up and split and warmed inside my stove.

S
 

jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,699
Northern MN
Two summers ago two times I stopped people taking trees felled by the power company for line clearing and laying on the side of the road. Both had their pickups nearly full, which they then unloaded. I think you need to assume, unless you know otherwise, that the road authority or the power company only has rights consistent with their right-of-way easement, and that the adjoining property owner has all other rights, including rights to trees and felled trees in the right-of-way. Their are exceptions, of course, such as where the road authority acquired the fee title to the right-of-way, or where the easement grants the road authority rights to trees and felled trees. In MN timber theft is subject both to criminal prosecution and to treble damages to the owner of the timer.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
18,904
Unity/Bangor, Maine
Ask first . . . and folks might say to take the wood.

Don't ask first . . . and you may be having a nice, little talk with a landowner or officer of the law.

I know I often haul wood out near the road for processing at a later date . . . and I would be mighty unhappy to find wood missing . . . on the other hand from your description it sounds like this wood is "junk" and just "trash" so asking around could easily result in some free wood for you.
 

billb3

Minister of Fire
Dec 14, 2007
4,575
SE Mass
If we have storm damage here, I call the Town Highway Department and get permission. They always say yes.
However, there can also be other cutting projects going on in Town and they would know who pulled a permit and mey have contracted cutting (power company,etc,) Even the power company has to give notice and / or request a cutting permit because there are historic areas in Town and not even the power company can just cut down a whole tree along the road. They can trim branches, but anything beyond that has to have a hearing. A bid contract to a private firm may have the profit of selling the wood in the contract bid. They may not apreciate anyone helping themselves.
 

smokinj

Minister of Fire
Aug 11, 2008
15,980
Anderson, Indiana
Around Here what will not fit in there chipper will be piled up next to a pole frist come frist served.
 
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ISeeDeadBTUs

Guest
I would be VERY CAREFUL of taking a Town/Utility Employee's "Okay". Their employer may have the right to clear a certain area, but they don't have the right to grant access to a third party, nor to give away the landowner's possesion. Why people think that, because there is a powerline there, the public has the right to enter and/or take stuff, is beyond me.

I believe the technical words would be

Trespass & Larceny :long:
 

smokinj

Minister of Fire
Aug 11, 2008
15,980
Anderson, Indiana
ISeeDeadBTUs said:
I would be VERY CAREFUL of taking a Town/Utility Employee's "Okay". Their employer may have the right to clear a certain area, but they don't have the right to grant access to a third party, nor to give away the landowner's possesion. Why people think that, because there is a powerline there, the public has the right to enter and/or take stuff, is beyond me.

I believe the technical words would be

Trespass & Larceny :long:

lol your not from Indiana in the RR# there is ditchs with grass up to your @ss and if there not mowing it no owns it, or could care less about 1/16 of a cord piled up next to the pole for a couple years.
 

Flatbedford

Minister of Fire
Mar 17, 2009
5,252
Las Vegas, NV
Ask at the closest house. I think that highway ROW rules and who actually owns roadside property varies from state to state and even from one locality to another. It may also depend on whether it is a town, county, state, or federal highway.
 

pyper

New Member
Jan 5, 2010
491
Deep South
It's also not uncommon for property owners to cede the property under the right-of-way to the locality, in order to avoid paying property taxes on it. In that case the city or the county would own the land and anything on it.
 

polaris

Feeling the Heat
Jan 31, 2008
419
KY.
Stihl Country said:
Here in North Carolina the property owner claims everything up to the edge of the road.
Yup it all belongs to somebody. I have had people drive by my place and try to pick up rounds from a tree that had fallen in an ice storm and I had just bucked it. When I drove over they said they needed the wood for a camping trip and "sorry we didn't think the land belonged to anybody" some city folks blow me away with their lack of understanding regarding land ownership. I told them that there era of free land and homesteading had ended 200 or so yrs. ago around here and ALL land is owned by someone.
Joe
 

smokinj

Minister of Fire
Aug 11, 2008
15,980
Anderson, Indiana
What amazing is wood every where around here most of the houses were built in the 50-60 most can find wood in there own yard..Was running a chipper yesterday and a guy came up and didn't really want to talk to him but I did he has 4 locust tree that was trimmed a couple years ago dead standing for a couple years now! lol
but my point would be this if you have a saw you can find someone how wants you to cut all day long every day, so just move on.
 
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ISeeDeadBTUs

Guest
smokinjay said:
lol your not from Indiana in the RR# there is ditchs with grass up to your @ss and if there not mowing it no owns it, or could care less about 1/16 of a cord piled up next to the pole for a couple years.
I think we have a new definition!! A 'Stealer Cord' is 1/16 of a Cord!! :coolsmirk:

But seriously, why would anyone mess around with 5 sticks of wood???
 

smokinj

Minister of Fire
Aug 11, 2008
15,980
Anderson, Indiana
ISeeDeadBTUs said:
smokinjay said:
lol your not from Indiana in the RR# there is ditchs with grass up to your @ss and if there not mowing it no owns it, or could care less about 1/16 of a cord piled up next to the pole for a couple years.
I think we have a new definition!! A 'Stealer Cord' is 1/16 of a Cord!! :coolsmirk:

But seriously, why would anyone mess around with 5 sticks of wood???
Camp fires we have a state park about 3/4 of a mile away and they dont let anyone pick wood up off the ground and a camp ground about 1/2 mile in the other direction.
 
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ISeeDeadBTUs

Guest
Now dat'z funny . . .in NY, they don't want you to bring wood in. Out there they don't want you to burn wood already in. Hmmppfff . . . .
 

joshlaugh

New Member
May 1, 2009
330
Granville, Ohio
I always ask first. No exceptions. Around me, whoevers property the wood is on, gets first dibs on it.
 
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