Greenways Offers Free Wood, But You’ll Work for It

POTTSTOWN PA – For those who want to keep the home fires burning, so to speak, the Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area has a free offer: haul-it-away ash wood.

“Hundreds of dead Ash trees have been cut down along the Schuylkill River Trail,” the Greenways explained in its newsletter distributed Wednesday. The trail keepers, like municipalities with parks and other entities across the state, have had to remove ash trees being killed by an invasive insect called the emerald ash borer.

Although there’s no dollar cost being charged for the wood, there are several caveats. First, the wood is available only by appointment, and those interested must schedule a day and time to retrieve it. Do that by sending an e-mail to Greenways’ Trail Maintenance and Safety Manager Kevin Keifrider at kkeifrider@schuylkillriver.org. An SRG representative must accompany each applicant.

Expect to work during the retrieval, too. The organization reports “some tree trunks and branches will requiring cutting. We cannot cut it for you.” Applicants must sign a waiver to bring a vehicle of tools onto its trails. And applicants “must be able to load (the wood) themselves onto (their) truck or trailer.”

The felled trees and wood are located on portions of the trail between Grosstown Road trailhead in Stowe (Montgomery County) and the Gilbraltar access in Birdsboro (Berks County), a distance of about 10.3 miles, according to the Greenways’ interactive map.

There’s reward in the effort, though. A 2020 post in the Down-To-Earth Homesteaders Blog reports that “ash is good for firewood because it is a clean burning hard wood that produces an adequate amount of heat. It has a neutral aroma and won’t leave your hands all pitchy. Some argue that it is the best firewood to use!”

Photo provided by the Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area