By Esther Godson
San Juan National Forest
The San Juan National Forest is extending its availability of free permits for personal-use firewood cutting to the general public through Sept. 30. In addition to its extension of the free-use firewood permits, the forest is also allowing visitors to prudently collect up to 250 pounds of rock under free-use conditions.
Rock permits are required for 250 pounds of rock or more. The free-use permits are for personal use only and exclude commercial purposes. Forest users are asked to comply with normal permit requirements and Forest regulations, even when collecting forest products under the free-use allowance.
These free-use permits are valid for cutting up to and a maximum of 10 cords of personal-use firewood. A cord is the amount of tightly piled wood in a stack 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long. The authorization packets are limited to one per household and only individuals that are 18 years or older may participate in the free personal-use firewood program.
The Forest is providing free-use firewood authorization packets to the public in the following way:
• An individual can pick up an authorization packet at any one of the four national forest offices during regular business hours. A self-service table will be located near the front entrance at each office. Forest staff require that woodcutters leave contact information in the on-site drop box when picking up their packet.
Woodcutters must carry the authorization packet with them while cutting. The authorizations do not need to be attached to the load. Firewood cutters are also required to carry an ax or shovel and have their chain saw equipped with an approved spark arrester when cutting wood.
For forest visitors needing a permit to collect 250 pounds of rock or more, permit requests can be made by phone, email or standard mail. Those seeking rock permits should expect a two-week timeframe to complete the process, though access to email and a scanner will facilitate a faster turnaround.
All offices on the San Juan National Forest are conducting business and providing visitor services virtually. For specific forest information and permit guidelines, please contact Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268.
For information on the San Juan National Forest, call 247-4874.