Firewood for Charity, Rio Grande National Forest and Others?

PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/MATT HILDNER Craig DenUyl, a volunteer for the San Luis Valley charity La Puente, hauls fire wood that will later be handed out to people who need help heating their homes.

Foto asked about volunteers and firewood, and I found this one from the Rio Grande National Forest. I bet this happens all over the west. Please comment and link to other articles if you know of them. Many people on this blog disagree on many things, hopefully this is something people can all get behind, a “Thing we Agree is Good”?.

By MATT HILDNER | [email protected] | 0 comments

BIG MEADOWS — In a region where the size of a home’s wood pile is no laughing matter, the U.S. Forest Service and a local nonprofit are teaming up to make sure those in need stay warm this winter.

Employees from the Rio Grande National Forest and volunteers with La Puente, a San Luis Valley charity, spent a day last week cutting and hauling wood from this campground near Wolf Creek Pass.

The wood, in the neighborhood of four cords, will be handed out through the charity’s utility assistance program to families whose homes are heated primarily with wood.

“It really helps us to keep people warm,” said volunteer Craig DenUyl after unloading an armful of wood.

A portion of that wood also will go to La Puente’s homeless shelter in Alamosa.

Keeping warm in the San Luis Valley is no small task.

Alamosa, which annually does battle with places such as Fraser and Gunnison for the coldest spot in the state, had three days earlier this month where it was the coldest spot in the lower 48 states, according to USA Today.

Many homes are heated with natural gas, but firewood remains a common source of fuel in the Valley.

Last year the Rio Grande sold permits for cutting of roughly 6,000 cords of wood.

The project also served a useful end for the Forest Service, which has undertaken thinning the insect-laden trees crammed into the campground.

“These are dead and dying trees that we knew were going to fall over eventually,” said Mike Blakeman, a public affairs officer for the Rio Grande National Forest.

The trees, which are in a stretch of forest that has been hit hard by spruce bark beetles and the western spruce budworm, represented a threat at Big Meadows, which is the busiest campground in the 1.9 million-acre national forest.

The agency’s volunteer coordinator Rob Santoro said the thinning work at the campground, which had included the cutting of the wood into small sections, made contributing it to charity an obvious choice.

“When I came out and saw it was all bucked up, it was a no-brainer,” he said.

1 thought on “Firewood for Charity, Rio Grande National Forest and Others?”

  1. Only if they limit firewood cutting to within 200 feet of the home ignition zone. And only if they ban firewood cutting along all the roads in roadless areas.

    The national forests that “sell” the most personal use firewood permits are those that are adjacent to Indian reservations (example: Santa Fe). Of course reservations have the highest poverty rates in the country. In the Rio Grande’s case I should modify that to include Hispanic poverty areas. Forests that are close to rich white ski communities don’t sell much firewood. Awash in a sea of MPB killed trees, the White River Nat. Forest sells very little firewood. Maybe some of the people who work in the “tourist service trade industry” are forced to heat with wood.

    All snideness aside, I think it’s a good thing.


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