free firewood valemount sign (1)

By: Korie Marshall

In early 2014, Lou Hartman brought in a contractor to log a section of his property between 9th Avenue and the trailer park he owns. He sold three loads, and was planning to use the rest of the wood in one of his houses. But some of it has been going missing.

Before it was logged, Hartman had given permission to a few people to cut down some of the beetle-killed pine for firewood, so long as they cleaned it up. Since having it logged he’s only given permission to one person to use some of the wood, in exchange for help with cleaning it up. But other people have been taking some of the wood, and even entering the property from Dogwood Street and loading up their trucks.

Hartman currently lives in his newer house, and it doesn’t have a wood burning furnace, but his other house, also bordering on the property does. He’s had them both for sale, and plans to continue living in whichever doesn’t sell first.

“I’m intending to get the wood furnace fixed up again, because people like to burn wood,” says Hartman. “So that would go along with the sale of the house, or if the new one happens to sell I’ll move back there and still use it.”

He doesn’t have a sign that says it’s private property, but he’s never had a sign that says it’s free wood either, like the signs currently on McKirdy Road near Cranberry Marsh.

Hartman has had some help from friends to pile most of the wood under a roof closer to the house, and he hasn’t noticed any disappearing since then, but there are still some logs on the ground that he plans to use.

“If they want to get firewood, there are lots of places out in the bush they can get it, they don’t need to haul it from my place,” he says. He says he’s seen stacks along the sides of some roads for years, people could take that wood if they need to.

“A lot of people didn’t know that was my property,” says Hartman. “I think that is kind of odd, I’ve lived here for close to 50 years. It was all bush when I came here.”