All that firewood lying along state highways

The in basket: Phyllis Bishop wrote on Nov. 24 to say, “My husband and I came from Belfair to Bremerton today, Wow all the fallen trees. The subject came up of who gets the wood from the trees. My husband thinks since it is on state right of way it belongs to the state. Is it legal to cut the wood and remove it?”

The out basket: No, says Duke Stryker, head of maintenance crews for state highways in this area. For liability reasons that are especially pertinent with something as perilous as wood-cutting, they or the state patrol will chase away anyone trying to harvest fire wood from state right of way.

“It would be just a matter of time before someone gets hurt or a vehicle runs off the road and hits someone,” he said. Unfortunately, we can’t allow it.”

State crews, aided by crews from the Department of Corrections’ prisons, will clean up the deadfall in time, and take it to a recycling center, he said.

That’s not a very high priority. At present, he said, they are repairing and replacing damaged guardrail from trees that fell across it in the most recent storm.

He said the stretch of Highway 3 that Phyllis mentions was the hardest hit area in Kitsap, the hardest hit county in that storm. It was fallen trees, not icy pavement that kept it closed between Sunnyslope and Lake Flora roads the day after, he said. His crews were using plows to push around trees and other debris so power crews could get to the lines in the area.

I asked Kitsap County about fallen tree cleanup while I was at it and found its rules to be different.

Doug Bear, spokesman for Kitsap public works says they regard storm debris on county right of way to be the property of the adjoining property owner. Most county right of way is in the form of an easement, rather than straight ownership, he said.

So access to fallen trees along county roads would require the same kind of permission from the the private owner as it would had the trees fallen outside the right of way.

5 thoughts on “All that firewood lying along state highways

  1. I run one of the only (if not the only) wood donation programs here in Kitsap county and found out yesterday that the government won’t allow any of this wood to be used by those who need it…they want it destroyed. I work year round to obtain and process wood to support our disabled/low income/unemployed/retired folks who cannot afford or don’t have the means to heat their homes. This should have been a win-fall instead of a landfill.

    1. Is this wood donation program still around? Love to donate fir trees we are having felled on our property off Lake Flora Road.

    2. A reader asked today (4/5//17) if the donation program still exists, as she has a bunch of downed trees on Lake Flora Road, she’s like to donate. If this is still a good contact point, leave me a message at

  2. Thank you Phyllis for asking the same question i had been wondering about.Also “thanks” to the Road Warrior for the answer.I have been searching on line today for ads offering free/cheap firewood in the kitsap area.Originally i had my mind set on loading up my chain saw and taking my truck out to get some of that wood i’ too had been seeing everywhere along the road sides, unfortunately that is not a (legal) option where the majority of wood i have eyed is.So i leave the clean up job to the state and save my back.I find it a shame to have such a useful and natural resource be destroyed when there are so many people who need it.After all these years, Why has a plan not been made to make use of the wood ? Create a program that im sure the inmates in our prisons would love to be a part of that in turn would help our community Maybe they could donate it all to A Gift Of Warmth in Port Orchard? Hmmmm..? “Thank you” AGOW ahead of time. Ill be E-mailing you next.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

Is water a solid or a liquid at room temperature?