FUELWOOD PERMIT POLICY
Due to considerable wood theft, damage to the resource, and other violations of basic requirements stated in fuelwood permits, White Earth Tribal Forestry has been forced to modify the policy for the permitting of fuelwood cutting. Free use permits will still be available for special cultural purposes, such as cutting tamarac for tee pee poles or black ash for baskets, or for gathering dead and down fuelwood from along roads or logging slash piles. However, no cutting of standing wood, alive or dead will be allowed without a paid fuelwood permit, in a location approved by Tribal Forestry.
Fuelwood permits will no longer be issued for a broad area, as they were in the past. Specific woodlots will be marked by Tribal Forestry for fuelwood harvesting. Trees will be marked to remove the diseased or poorly formed trees, while preserving the higher genetic quality trees for natural seeding. Lots will contain varied volumes of marked wood, from 3 to 10 cords. The volume and paint color will be indicated on the permit and the accompanying map. Each woodlot will be issued to one person only, giving them ownership of that marked wood, but woodcutters will be required to harvest the wood as per the instructions on the permit.
Basic Requirements for Fuelwood Harvesting from a Marked Woodlot:
- Stumps of all green trees harvested will be cut low to ensure good stump sprouting.
- Only trees marked by Forestry with Forestry paint may be cut.
- A permittee may only cut trees marked with the paint color indicated on their permit.
- All other trees in the woodlot will be left uncut and undamaged.
- Dead and down wood may be collected inside the woodlot, whether it is marked or not.
Tribal Forestry will monitor permittee compliance with the requirements of the permit. The requirements are not meant to be restrictive or over-burdensome to Tribal members. They are only to reduce unnecessary damage and to ensure that a healthy, vigorous fuelwood resource is available for the next generation.
Due to the very high demand for fuelwood in the last 2 years, as well as the ever increasing descendent population on the reservation, woodlots will only be offered to enrolled White Earth Tribal members. This change is in keeping with general gathering regulations described in the White Earth Reservation Conservation Code. A descendent may be authorized to harvest fuelwood for an enrolled elder or handicapped relative, but the permit must be in the name of that enrolled relative, with the descendents name indicated on the permit. Under this provision, the descendent may only harvest that fuelwood for the named permittee. Please refer to the White Earth Reservation Conservation Code for applicable definitions of elders and the handicapped.
The cost for fuelwood permits will be $6.00 per cord of wood marked on that woodlot. Fuelwood permits will be valid for one year from the date of issuance. A person may select from the woodlots already established, or may request a woodlot be marked at a location they know of. A location may have a single woodlot or several lots grouped together, depending upon the availability of wood there. When woodlots are grouped together, each lot will have a different color of paint, and each permittee will be restricted to only cutting trees with the color of paint indicated on their permit.
Anyone may obtain a second woodlot, but they will be required to complete harvesting on their current permit before they are issued a second one. If Tribal Forestry determines that the requirements of the permit were not met, or if there were violations of restrictions of the permit, that Tribal member may lose fuelwood harvesting privileges for the next season. If anyone else is found harvesting on that site, the permittee should contact the Tribal Conservation Department, and then Tribal Forestry. Any identified violators will be liable for prosecution for timber trespass.
Vendor woodlots will be set up upon request from a Tribal member, in a location approved by Tribal Forestry. The same requirements, restrictions, and penalties will apply to vendor woodlots as on personal woodlots. Availability of fuelwood supply may limit the number of Vender woodlots sold. The cost of a Vender woodlot will be double the personal woodlot price, or $12.00 per cord.
Charging a fee for fuelwood will encourage cutting the designated woodlot, because the permittee will have an investment in that site. They will also have the knowledge that the woodlot is reserved for them. This will give the permittee some pride of ownership in their cutting site, which should improve permit compliance. If there is no charge for the wood, then there is no incentive to cut the wood as we want, or to cut it at all. Serious woodcutters will have no problem with paying for a guaranteed woodlot. Also, establishing designated woodlots will allow better monitoring by Tribal Forestry and the Conservation Department of both good and bad harvesting habits, and whether permittees are meeting our requirements.