UMATILLA, Ore. – Free firewood is available to the general public at a special wood pile at McNary Lock and Dam, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials at the Walla Walla District announced today.
Every year, woody debris makes its way downstream from the Yakima and Snake Rivers and into the Columbia River. Once it arrives at McNary Dam, much of it collects in the forebay area on the upstream side of the dam, where it must be removed by crane and piled on shore to keep it from entering powerhouse intakes and fish passages.
In an effort to reduce the size of the wood pile at McNary Dam, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will allow public access to the north shore area and to a smaller pile on the south shore where logs can be cut for firewood.
Effective immediately, woodcutters 18-years and older can apply for a permit to gather the wood. The permit allows for two additional helpers over age 18 to accompany the permit applicant. Permit applicants will need to present photo identification for all participants in their group and vehicle information, according to Walla Walla District officials.
Starting Nov. 4, permit holders can access the woodcutting areas Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until further notice. There will be no access on federal holidays. Safety equipment like boots, gloves, chaps, goggles and hearing protection will be required. No weapons, including firearms, will be allowed at the woodpile location.
For more information about getting a permit to gather free firewood at the dam, or to learn more about access to the wood pile, please contact the Park Ranger Office in the Pacific Salmon Visitor Information Center at McNary Dam by calling 541-922-2268. If there is no immediate answer, callers should leave a message including their name and phone number so a park ranger can return their call.
Release no. 11-148