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SCNF offers free personal use firewood gathering


SALMON, Idaho (KIFI) - The Salmon-Challis National Forest will offer free personal-use firewood gathering, up to four cords, for the 2023 calendar year. 

A free, hard copy permit and load tags will be required. For 2023, the maximum amount per year that a household can gather for personal use is 12 cords. The 12 cords would typically be authorized using a combination of free personal-use (4 cord maximum) and personal-use charge permits (12 cord maximum minus free cords previously authorized). The cost for a personal-use charge permit is $5.00 per cord with a minimum purchase of four (4) cords or $20.00.

Permits are available at the Public Lands Center in Salmon or their local district offices. Another option for obtaining the charge personal-use permits are the participating vendors in Salmon, Leadore, and Tendoy. Vendors providing personal-use charge permits for the 2023 season in Salmon are: Cycle, Sleds, and Saws, Murdoch’s, and Service Grocery; in Tendoy: Tendoy Store; in Leadore: Stage Stop.  Vendors will not be issuing personal-use free permits in 2023; please call your local Forest Service district office for information on availability and obtaining free personal-use permits. All firewood gathering permits issued in 2023 will be valid through December 31, 2023.

Standing dead and down trees may be gathered for firewood. A cord is the amount of tightly piled wood in a stack four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long.

The free personal-use firewood gathering authority applies to Salmon-Challis National Forest system lands only.

Forest Service officials request that wood cutters follow these restrictions and requirements:

  • Prior to haul, firewood material 7 inches in diameter or larger needs to be cut into lengths less than 8 feet.  Smaller material can be removed in longer lengths.
  • No firewood cutting within 300 feet of streams, lakes, ponds, or wet/boggy areas.  Do not fall or drag trees across streams.
  • Only standing dead trees with no green needles, or downed trees may be gathered for firewood. Do not cut trees that are signed, painted, or appear to be protected for other resource purposes.  Leave stumps as low as possible, but no higher than 8 inches.
  • To reflect implementation of the Salmon-Challis National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM), open travel routes are identified on the current MVUM and governs use of all motorized vehicles on the Forest.  Motorized vehicles are allowed within 300 feet from the centerline of the designated routes for the purpose of cutting and removing firewood, provided no resource damage occurs.
  • No firewood cutting is allowed within signed timber sales, or 200 feet of administrative sites, campgrounds, research natural areas, or other areas signed on the ground as closed to firewood cutting.  In addition, no firewood cutting is allowed in those areas designated by color shading or by description as portrayed on the Salmon-Challis firewood map.
  • Firewood obtained is intended for personal use only.  Free personal-use firewood may not be resold. 
  • Persons may gather firewood on behalf of someone else physically unable to gather on their own.
  • Pile or lop and scatter slash away from roads, power lines, telephone lines, ditches, and stream courses.

Permitted gathering of more limited maximum cut eight (8) feet length firewood, post and poles, energy assistance programs, or for any commercial firewood harvesting will continue for a fee.  Please call your local district office for information on availability and obtaining the appropriate permit.

For more information and guidelines, please check the firewood cutting brochure available at and contact the Forest at 208-756-5100.  Firewood maps for the Forest can be found at Salmon-Challis National Forest contact information can be found online 

Article Topic Follows: Idaho
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