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Author Topic: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage  (Read 7256 times)

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Offline DanG

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Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« on: June 07, 2007, 11:31:01 am »
I, like many others here, get many of my logs from arborists.  All of mine come from the small, part time operations, operating outside of the urban area.  I have had no luck with the larger services, who do the bulk of the tree work, though I've talked with several of them.  They just don't want to be bothered with it, so they just tack the landfill fees onto the customer's bill, with a hefty profit factor, I'm sure.

It seems to me that a practical solution would be for a city to have a public salvage yard, where arborists or homeowners could deposit the material, and it could be made available to folks who can use it.  I'm sure there must be some places that are doing this.  Are there examples of successful programs that could be presented to local governments, so that new programs can be initiated?
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Offline Radar67

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2007, 12:51:32 pm »
Why not set up a log yard for the arborist to use with free drop off? They will still charge the customers a removal fee, but won't have to pay a dumping fee. And you have an endless supply of logs.  ;)

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Offline DanG

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2007, 01:27:14 pm »
That is a solution I've thought about, but I live 30 miles out.  For an individual to take that on is usually not practical.  The tree services would want to dump everything there, and the volume would create all sorts of environmental concerns and the red tape that goes along with it.

There is one guy in Tallahassee that is doing it successfully.  He has a large sand business and uses the pit to dispose of waste.  He has tub grinders and a sawmill.  He even has a stump shaker to harvest the dirt from the stumps, which he sells as fill dirt.  He charges the tree services by the ton to dump there, just like the landfill does.  He is the only one who benefits from this operation.  I'm thinking more of something where everybody benefits.
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Offline metalspinner

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2007, 03:08:44 pm »
The largest tree service here has their on dump yard.  They allow people to take whatever they like - after you sign a waver.  8)  Just last week I went to pick up some nice white oaks that I had my eye on, but the week prior they went through with a grinder of some sort and chipped everything. >:(   But sitting right on top of the chip pile were 5 nice walnut pieces 8' X 20".  8)  They must have been set there the day before I showed up.  In the winter time I do need to stay ahead of the firewood guys. splitwood_smiley

I have considered talking with them about a more formal arrangment, but with the size of this company, I would be getting calls (if they called at all) everyday.  And I am sure that the majority of the trees they take out are better off as firewood or chips.  So, I will keep rolling the dice and pass by the yard once a week to see what is on the buffet. :)

The small tree service guy's without heavy equipment are the one's that I get the best logs from.  They are more than happy to wait a bit if neccesary if i can't get there right away.  The big guys want it out now.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2007, 05:14:02 pm »
Our county has a green recycling area.  They make compost and mulch.  Here's the link:
http://www.goglra.org/county_composts.htm

They allow locals to bring in grass clippings, tree trimmings and the like.  They also have some logs that come in from time to time.  They just mulch it up in the tub grinder.  They don't take large logs.

But, I bet if I went down and told them I would be willing to buy the logs, they would gladly have someone drop logs off (for a fee, of course). 

Around here, most tree trimmers that have any good wood usually send them to the mills or have the mills pick it up.  They also chip just about everything.  They dump the chips wherever they can.  We even got a few loads for free that we sent out as mulch. 
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Offline Daren

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2007, 07:58:22 am »
  Are there examples of successful programs that could be presented to local governments, so that new programs can be initiated?

It is not a formal "program" but I have spend alot of time with my city council and rural road commission explaining how it benefits them to bring their logs to me. Their old way was to haul them to the sewage treatment plant and burn them....then go buy lumber for municipal projects (park benches/street barricades/concrete form boards/stakes/etc.) That is a waste of a natural resource as well as tax money.
They spend no more labor dropping the logs off here and still burning the brush than the old way, but they know if they need a couple boards where to come get them. So far them giving me logs and they taking the lumber they need back for free has worked fairly for both of us.

I work with park boards, cemetery caretakers, local government...Most tree services here in hardwood country sell firewood (especially with the price of fuel lately) or have buyer in the pallet industry, not much of that wood goes to waste, they are business men. I work with a few tree services to get the logs I want, they know what I am interested in, the rest gets put to use (unfortunately I'm afraid far too many figured logs are split for firewood, I am working on educating the guys who will listen about curly maple/burls...) 

It is the other people who remove trees that don't see their value/usefulness, the biggest being excavation/development contractors. They go in and bulldoze virgin hardwood into a pile for a new subdivision. The trees are "in the way of progress" I have been fortunate to get a few of them to see things my way, but some will not listen-time is money and they don't have the time to mess with me. One contractor in particular has done me right several times. They do mostly bridge construction. I have had semi loads of walnut show up out of the blue.

I even try to get my message out to individuals, and pretty much everyone local knows what I am about and treecycling. That does have it's disadvantages, like the "free tree" calls. All I have to do is come cut the hollow thing hanging over their house and clean up the mess and I can have all the wood I want  ::) I politely explain I don't cut down trees, just sawmill them and give them the number to a couple tree services I work with.

I think the biggest thing is education, most people just don't get the connection. They seriously don't think about the fact of where wood comes from, silly as it sounds. They think it is made at Lowes/Menards in the back room or something. I can give an example. Our town is broke, or school system is broke. We had a couple trees die at the high school ball diamond and volunteers were going to remove them...one of them being the high school shop teacher he is a part time coach. The plan was since they "were just pine" and not good firewood to haul them to the country and burn them. One of the other guys involved asked me if I wanted any of the wood  ???. I called the shop teacher and asked if they ever used pine in shop class, and of course he said yes....even he didn't get it. So to make this long story short I got the logs, sawed them and donated the lumber back to the school. But more importantly I made a video tape of me sawmilling. I showed how my mill worked blah blah and examples of sawing for grade and 1/4 sawing on some oak. Maybe watching the tape will stick in one or two heads in future years and the students will think of putting trees to a good use if possible.
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Offline Larry

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2007, 09:42:09 am »
Are there examples of successful programs that could be presented to local governments, so that new programs can be initiated?

Yes, there are examples out there.  Some time in the past Topeka Kansas created a city forester position, along with a long list of what was to be accomplished.  If you do a google for “topeka city forester” you will come up with several hits that go into detail about the program.                             

Several years ago I attended NHLA grading school and one of my classmates was Adam Moser, Topeka city forester.  He and another gentleman from Topeka explained the program and all the benefits.  Lot more interesting than what you will read on the web.  Somehow the program had a Woodmizer involved...can’t remember the details.  If the google results peak your interest you might try calling there forestry department and talk with Adam.
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Offline Nora

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2007, 06:20:58 pm »
Here are a couple of links to slideshows about companies and communities recycling their urban wood:

ABCO Wood Recycling Post Falls, Idaho

Biomass One - Medford, Oregon

Vashon Forest Stewards - Vashon Island, Washington.




Offline Quartlow

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2007, 10:43:09 pm »
Around here the big tree service companies won't even talk to you, and all the independents are in the firewood business on the side.
Pretty much limits the urban log prospects around here.
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Offline Tom

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2007, 12:44:56 pm »
You might consider "partnering" with one or two of them.  Selling points could be access to lumber for deck beds or for them to sell or a service that they could sell to their customers in lieu of hauling to the dump.  If you approach them correctly, they might take it as a money-making venture on their part.  What's to lose.  If they don't like the distance to your mill, they can always take it to the dump.
extinct

Offline WIwoodworker

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2007, 08:52:21 pm »
Hi DanG...There actually are quite a few programs...some going and some defunct...but they have been and in some cases still are out there. I'll dig through all the email I've saved and find some links to post. Off the top of my head I remember one in San Diego, one here in Wisconsin somewhere, and one in Des Moines, IA that closed some time ago.

The things they had in common were that people that cared about community resources, a recycling ethic, actually using the wood, and sometimes jobs.

Roadblocks that were common included insurance and liability, distrust because some people think you'll get rich and they'll get nothing, properly zoned space to do the work, and of course...money. Most were set up as non-profits as I recall.

One thing most of them found to be quite easy was getting logs dropped off. I remember the one from Des Moines just letting people know that logs could be dropped off for free and they were inundated. They did get a lot of stuff that was difficult to market but they also got some nice stuff too. So that's the hitch...you get everything.

I hope to do this one day myself and have thought that the only way you end up with decent logs consistently is to pay for them. Firewood guys, mulch guys...they all have a business too so it really just comes down to plain old fashioned competition. If giving something back to the community is a worthy goal then giving them money for the trees you want seems like a good trade. If the firewood guys want the nice logs too and they're willing to pay then the community wins either way.

Smaller arborists without log handling equipment are everywhere and are willing to do business with you. They know the wood is worth something and some might want some money, which is fine by me if they have what I want. But many I would think would be interested in having you haul away stuff for them so they don't have to deal with it. I have 2 cords of maple in my back yard from my next door neighbor's tree she had cut down this year. The tree guy gave me everything I wanted. I didn't have to give him any money but I did make his life easier, I gave him beer each day at quitting time, and I paid him $60 to grind an old stump out of my back yard.

I'll dig up those links so everyone can check them out. I'm glad there's an urban and community forestry forum. Let's keep the discussion going.
Peterson 9" WPF

Offline cantcutter

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2007, 07:03:11 am »
Guess I am lucky..... the one tree service brings logs to me free of charge.....a few others will sell them to me and load them on my trailer for .10 per BF.... they are all in the firewood business, but demand is low enough here that they are always looking for ways to get rid of logs without hauling them out to the city compost facility, which is 20 miles outside the city.... I also do alot of my milling for the tree services and there employies... we have about 6 major companies and dozen or more 1-2 man operations. Down side with opening a yard log for them to dump in is alot of what they dump is useless to a sawmill operator..... Around here they cannot legally sell to a mill or logyard, but I guess that is not the case everywhere.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2007, 09:53:31 am »
cantcutter
Where is "down here" ?? 

not in your bio,  hint, hint... ;D ;D
south central Wisconsin
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Offline cantcutter

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2007, 07:25:26 pm »
Lexington Kentucky.... I am new so haven't got to the bio yet...too busy reading ;D
I say down here as I am from Vermont and this is down here from there :)

Offline WIwoodworker

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2007, 01:12:48 pm »
Here's one of the links I promised.

www.greenwasterecyclingyard.com

Peterson 9" WPF

Offline WIwoodworker

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2007, 01:17:23 pm »
And here's a publication I found helpful when I started researching this subject.

http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/misc/utilizingmunitrees/index.htm
Peterson 9" WPF

Offline Todd

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Making somthing idiot-proof only leads to the creation of bigger idiots!

Offline WIwoodworker

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Re: Local programs to encourage urban timber salvage
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2007, 01:31:36 pm »
oops! Thanks Todd.

And one more cool place to check out.

www.citilogs.com

Hope this stuff is helpful.
Peterson 9" WPF