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People sought to clear downed trees in park

October 01, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - In what may be a win-win situation for Greenbrier State Park and area residents wishing to stock up on firewood, park officials say people can cut up trees downed by recent storms and take the wood home for a price below market value.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources issued a news release Monday saying Greenbrier officials will sell permits to anyone interested in cutting up toppled trees for firewood.

Mary Jo Bartles, an administrative officer at Greenbrier State Park, at 21843 National Pike east of Hagerstown, said Tropical Storm Isabel left dozens of trees in disrepair.

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"Our dogwood loop (upper camping area) got hit pretty hard," Bartles said. "There's probably 30 trees that the storm took down. And there's a lot of trees leaning that need to come down."

Bartles said people interested in the wood can cut it at the park after purchasing a $21 permit per cord of wood. The permit price is less than one-fourth of the retail price for a cord of wood, Bartles said.

The department news release said much of the wood available for cutting is green and won't be ready to burn for a year.

Bartles said much of the wood is easily accessible.

"Most of it is laying right by the side of the road." she said.

Greenbrier State Park in the past has offered people the option of buying permits to take cords of wood, Bartles said. The park usually sold about 20 of the permits a year.

Park officials hope to sell more than 50 permits this year because the storms left them with a lot more trees to remove than they'd normally have, Bartles said.

"We've always done it, but it's on a much larger scale this year" because of Isabel, she said.

Bartles said officials hope to sell a lot of the permits, and rid the area of the downed trees, because such a cleanup at the park would take seasonal workers away from their usual winter duties. Those duties include getting ready for the start of the camping season in the spring.

"The workers have a lot of other work to do already," Bartles said. "This would have cut too much into their time."

The park did not consider hiring an outside company to remove the trees, Bartles said.

Bartles said the permits are available to all. She said officials don't mind if people haul the wood away and sell it for a higher price.

"We don't care what you do with it when you get it out of here, as long as you have a permit," Bartles said.

More information on the permits can be obtained by calling Greenbrier State Park at 301-791-4767.

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