Planning to Bring Your Own Firewood to the Park?

May 26th, 2011 by Ontario Parks Leave a reply »

A single piece of firewood can destroy millions of trees.

It might seem difficult to imagine, but something as simple as bringing your own firewood when you travel to or from your favourite campsite could threaten and destroy thousands, even millions, of trees. Transportation of firewood is a common way for invasive species to spread as they remain hidden under the bark where you can’t see them. Campers who bring firewood from home may accidentally spread pests that threaten Ontario’s provincial parks and the health of our forests.

Leave your firewood at home.

Throwing a few pieces of firewood into the trunk of the car before a camping trip might seem like a good way to plan ahead, but those logs could destroy a forest.

The Asian long-horned beetle and Emerald ash borer are of particular concern. They are both recent arrivals to Canada and have no natural controls here. To prevent the spread of these pests, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued Federal Ministerial Orders that prohibit the movement of specific materials, including firewood and any material made from ash trees, from specific areas of Ontario, Quebec and the United States.

To find out if your area is regulated please visit the CFIA web site.

Ontario Parks will continue to prohibit campers from bringing firewood from any of these regulated areas into a provincial park. Anyone moving firewood from a regulated area or transporting within the newly amalgamated Southern Ontario area will have their firewood seized upon entry. Campers can still purchase firewood locally around the park; however you should check for pest infestation and avoid purchasing ash firewood.

Upon departure from the park please leave behind any left over firewood that was either purchased in the area or that traveled with you to the park. This will stop the spread of any unwanted pests.

Update:

For more information on bringing your own firewood into parks you are visiting please contact the park directly.

59 comments

  1. John Lopez says:

    Hi, I am planing to camping at sibbald point this summer, but I want to know if I am allow to bring my own grill and charcoal, and also I want to Know if this park sell their own firewood.
    thank you.

    • Hi John,

      Yes, you are permitted to bring your own grill and charcoal. The day use areas do have pits to dispose of hot coals.

      Firewood is available for purchase at the park. The cost for a bag of hardwood is 7.50 per bag and kindling is $5.00

      • Ted says:

        Can you tell me how much hardwood is in a bag? Is one bag enough for a 4 or 5 hour burn?

        Thanks Ted

      • Hello Ted,

        Ontario Parks firewood bags contain one cubic foot of wood. One bag should be good for 2 to 4 hours of burning. However, it is hard to estimate as there can be many variables that will affect the time a fire will burn. Relative humidity, temperature, wind, size of your fire, species of wood can all affect the amount of time a fire will burn.

      • DON COKER says:

        what do you do with the wood that you seized from campers. is this realy because of the incects or is it that if campers brijng thear own wood they are not buying from the parks. Ithink it is the latter I own a bush lot & have no trouble with beatels I think this is a lot of bull.

  2. Gary says:

    I agree with stopping the spread of tree deseases, but the problem is the wood you buy at camp grounds is wet and only good for a smoke signal. This has happened two years in a row at Rushing River. So to enjoy a fire you almost have to bring your own wood.

    Regards,

  3. Laurie says:

    If you live in Hamilton, can you bring along any wood that is not Ash?

  4. Ralf Fiedler says:

    A nobel endeavour,however in my 60 years never I mean NEVER have we been able to stop nature from filling a niche.
    ever
    and we never will
    the most recent -Emeral ash Borer – is well pasted Toronto and likley at its limit due to our winters,yet we still ban moves out of Essex county.
    Remember the ‘firebreak’ between lakes Erie and St clair?
    Never give up but be realistic

  5. Robert Lefebvre says:

    How do staff determine where the firewood came from? I live, and source my wood, outside of the regulated area.

    I have attempted to purchase firewood at the park several times in the past, and each time, the wood was not seasoned and very difficult to burn. Other campers confirmed my findings and had similar frustration. This initiative would be more effective if the Parks sold seasoned wood.

  6. David Shaver says:

    Hi all. We visit Bass Lake park a few times a year and have found that the firewood and kindling that the park sells is a good value, and nice and dry. Now we aren’t the type that burns a fire all day long, rather we just have a fire at night after supper.

    The park firewood is hardwood and we find that two bags plus a bag of kindling does us nicely for 7 evenings.

    Oh, and by buying at the parks it is just another way to support the great service that we are pleased to enjoy.

    Enjoy

    David

  7. Patricia Fosty says:

    Do I understand correctly that non-Ash firewood from Manitoba can be brought into Ontario?

  8. Mark Reshaur says:

    If you want people to leave their wood at home then you need to provide affordable alternatives. When people are charged $7.50 for a small bundle of mill edge cuts they decide to bring their own wood.

  9. Shayne McCulloch says:

    HI,

    I will be camping this August at a provincial park and was planning on bringing pieces of Cedar hydro poles to burn. Would this be acceptable as there is no creosote present in the wood .

  10. Pat Lawson says:

    I hope the wood we must now buy will be better quality than in years past. It was the only reason we would bring our own as the quality offered at Killarney’s store was so poor – not dry.

  11. Lou Descarie says:

    If the cost of wood was not so high more people would by it from the park and not bring their own.
    You can buy wood near most parks for much cheaper.
    even cheaper if you bring it from homr.
    at 7:50 a bag for 10 nights it adds a substantial cost to your camping.

  12. Chris Clysdale says:

    Funny, Wood is restricted. Park sells wood. Wood is way over priced.
    A new way to generate revenue. This is a scam perpetrated by all Conservation Authorities to gouge the consumer.

  13. Chris Clysdale says:

    Further, It states that ash trees are the problem yet all types of wood are banned? What if I bring wood from Wellington County to a Provincial park in Wellington County. Acording to you that is also prohibited. How is prohibiting me from bringing Wellington County maple wood to a PP going to aid in stopping the dung beetle or whatever the BS excuse is? Plus They sieze it. Bet you find it in the 7.50$ bags next week. Oh yeah and if you don’t burn it please leave it behind for us to resell again. Lemme guess everyone is dumb but you guys right?

  14. Oliver says:

    While I completely support Ontario Parks, my experience with purchasing the firewood available at the provincial campsites has always been disappointing.
    The firewood that is for sale in the campgrounds is never covered, and almost always wet throughout. It is not worth the premium price charged.
    Would it be possible to at least cover it with a tarp?

  15. Martin says:

    As the saying goes- “it takes two to tango”.
    Why not give campers incentive to leave their firewood at home by lowering the price of a bundle of firewood to something more affordable, like $5.00, instead of charging them $7.50.
    $7.50 in my opinion is too much, especially here in Ontario, where there is so much wood available.

    Martin

  16. Jim Porteous says:

    I’ve got no problem buying wood from the park, however many times in the past the firewood that is for sale at the parks has been wet or not seasoned. This has already happened to me twice this year at two differant parks…

  17. shawn says:

    Only problem with purchasing wood from inside the park is that it is often not very dry and hard to get a fire going. You can usually find dry wood outside of the parks from local vendors or stores.

  18. Karen Metzger says:

    If our firewood is all from one of our own maple trees are we allowed to bring it without it being confiscated?

  19. Chris says:

    Hi, I too plan to camp at Sibbald Point this summer and I was wondering about bringing non-pressure treated wood like cut off pieces of 2×4′s and 1×6′s instead of logs. They have no bark on them and have nowhere for bugs to hide so I know I am not bringing any infestation with me. And they are small pieces.

    Thanks,

  20. Steve says:

    map is confusing, as it is all the same colour…. but? it seems i cannot bring perth county wood to lambton? Or is it I cannot bring Perth county wood to a/any provincial park?

    • Hello Steve,

      Firewood can be moved from county to county within the regulated area of southern Ontario, so yes you can move it from Perth to Lambton.

      However, you cannot move firewood from Perth County into any Provincial Park.

  21. Mae says:

    If I live outside one of the regulated regions and am planning to camp in another unregulated region, can I still bring my own firewood if I inspect it first, or will all wood be seized upon entry?
    Thank you for the clarification, Mae

    • Hello Mae,

      Firewood can be moved place to place in the unregulated areas. It is still recommended to inspect the wood as a precaution. Only firewood being moved from the regulated areas into Provincial Parks is flagged and seized.

  22. S. Cassie says:

    Hi, If we have to purchase firewood from you. Will you buy back any fire wood that we do not use, if you have to leave it there?
    Thanks.

    • Hello Ms. Cassie,

      Please keep your receipt for firewood purchased and any unopened (full) bags the park should be able to refund. It would be good for you to call the park you are going to in advance to confirm. In the past we have not had many, if any requests for refunds for unused bags of firewood.

  23. Jeff Wannamaker says:

    Just spent 5 days at Pog Lake at Algonquin Park cost $60.00 for fire wood for the family to enjoy camp fires each night,mabey one way to help prevent the spreading of envasive spieces is to lower the cost of the fire wood you provide for the campers and we wouldn’t feel the need to bring wood from home. Just a thought.

  24. Frank says:

    I understand the need to control transporting fire wood infested with the Emerald Ash and others, but WHY is the cost of a bag of firewood, so expensive in our Provincial Parks?

  25. Sarah says:

    Hello,
    My neighbor has given me bags of wood pieces from his woodworking. Is it acceptable to bring this along to burn? It has all been purchased from a woodworking shop.
    Thanks,
    Sarah

  26. Joy says:

    We are going to camp at the Pinery, Nr grand bend this weekend. We live in Thorndale, just NE of London, is our wood safe to bring? It was a maple tree broken by an ice storm about 3 yrs ago, we have quite a bit we’d like to use up, thank you 6 July 2011

    • Hello Joy,

      Unfortunately you cannot bring firewood from your home location, as you are within the Regulated Area, into The Pinery.

  27. John Lewis says:

    John,
    If they use the same firewood supplier as Killarney Prov Park has for the past few years you can count on the firewood being pretty damp. :(

  28. Dave says:

    I bought too much firewood at Bon Echo earlier this year and I have a bag left over. Can I take the bag I bought at Bon Echo (bought it from the park itself) to another Ontario park?

    • Hello Dave,

      Yes, the firewood you purchased at Bon Echo, which is not is a regulated area, can be taken with you to another park.

  29. Dave says:

    I agree with the fire wood ban, However the cost is ridiculous and would like to tell u and probably not the first, Is the reason that so much wood is brought into the park ! 7.50 for a bag of wood that has 4 or 5 pieces of wet wood…. U can not expect people to pay those prices..! 1 week in park small fire each night 52.50 if my math is correct, plus the cost of staying in park..Wow

    Just something we should consider……Also many cities have put a limit on garbage bags at curb…so they end up on hwy s and in private bins and now pay people to collect them, I don’t think I need to carry on but before we make rules and regulations we need to consider the repercussions of them…. Ok I’m babbling but my point is if u price wood reasonably then they will buy your wood which in turn moves more wood, more profit for the parks and beetle problem goes away.

    Concerned camper

  30. Bobby Bosotas says:

    I have fire wood from my maple tree, Located/cut from Scarborough Ontatio, so just to be clear, can I bring that to sibbald point since ther is no Emerald ash borer or Asian Longhorned Beetle ?

  31. John V says:

    Does the campfire wood restriction apply to species such as Maple, Beech & Elm ?

  32. Christine says:

    I was told that wood that’s leftover from manufacturing (e.g. mould making etc.)is safe. Is that true?

  33. Victor Castro says:

    Hi, My family and I have camped at provincial parks for the last 20 years. One of the best parts of any camping trip is the campfires at night. With the increased emphasis being placed on not transporting your own firewood, I would urge Ontario Parks to review its procedures and practices for purchasing and storing firewood.

    I have found over the years that the wood purchased at provincial parks is green and wet, resulting in very poor campfires. Most parks seem to have an adeqaute covered storage facility for their wood, so this would lead me to conclude that the problem may be the suppliers. If this is the case, the suppliers should be held to account for their poor quality product, and adequate quality control measures should be put in place to ensure that customers are buying properly dried wood.

    Thanks

  34. RJS says:

    Hi,

    I am also interested in bringing firewood from Manitoba to the Rushing River area. I have poplar trees on my own yard in the city that are seasoned and wish to bring. Is this OK?

  35. Geoff Dakin says:

    I’m all for supporting the protection of plant life, what I have an issue with is that Ontario Parks over charge for firewood and the wood is usally so green and wet it is hard to even get a fire started. I the parks supplied better wood at a competitive price people would be less apt to try and sneak wood in from other places.

    Just my rant for the day!
    Geoff

    • Jeremy says:

      I think you’d get all the people who care about this issue on board if those two things were resolved!

      All that would be left then is the people who just couldn’t give a rip and deserve any fines and penalties they’ve got coming.

      Come on Parks Ontario, give the law-abiding citizens something to work with!

  36. Jerry says:

    Spruce, pine, fir, balsam and cedar do not a very good campfire make, so just leave this at home except for a bit of kindling to get your fire started. Do buy your wood near where you’re going to burn it. If the stuff at the campground is not suitable there’s usually some nearby that is excellent and quite reasonable.
    While I agree with some commenters that nature is unstoppable, let’s keep things the way they are for as long as possible.

  37. M. Collins says:

    A couple of years ago we booked a couple of sites for the annual family & friends camping trip. We booked in January for the May trip. This was before any ban in the area. Subsequently, the ministry put this area on the list, and then when you booked you received a letter stating the ban and conditions. As we booked before the listing, we did not receive the notice. We arrived at the camp, our wood was seized, we helped unload and stack it. ( We also had construction waste which was allowed). We explained the situation regarding the booking and that we did not get a notice, we did not know of the ban beforehand. We are also local ( <25km away) and had been bringing our own wood for a dozen years. After all of this, we were still charged and had to pay a several hundred dollar fine.
    Not impressed – considering the wood was sourced locally less than 10 miles away, but on the other side of the line.

    …and the park wood is absolute crap. Wet mill ends with the odd chunk of birch – which is crap wood to burn at the best of times.

    mjc

  38. Matias says:

    I agree with prior comments. The firewood you buy at the camping grounds is wet, even if it hasn’t rained in the prior few days, as it happened to me on the July 1st weekend at Killbear. You should make a better job at isolating firewood from rain. I also don’t mind paying extra to avoid tree diseases, but don’t want to spend 45′ to start a fire with wet wood.

  39. Cam Mitchell says:

    Are we allowed to buy firewood from the area, not in the park?

    • Yes, campers can purchase firewood locally around the park; however they should be checking for pest infestation and avoid purchasing ash firewood.

  40. Scott Cisco says:

    So, it is okay to bring firewood from Peterborough County to Point Farms Provincial Park because Peterborough is NOT in the infected area and Point Farms is in the infected area… Right? Really like a clear answer…thanks.

  41. Philip Hawkins says:

    I have some wood in my trailer that I bought in Algonquin this Easter that we didn’t use. Can I bring that back, next time I come?

  42. Jeremy says:

    Time in and time out, wherever I go, I am overcharged for small bags of wet wood that is almost impossible to make a fire with (although no shortage of smoke).

    When you start providing quality firewood that isn’t soaking wet and thereby take away a big motivation for bringing one’s own wood, then I will know that you are actually taking the transport of firewood and its invasive species seriously.

    • Dan says:

      Great comment Jeremy. I agree 100%. Parks need to be proactive and charge fair market value for seasoned wood. Not much to ask for.

  43. Ryan McIntyre says:

    At $8-$9 for a small bag of scrap wood, how can you expect people to not try and bring their own? I can fill up my pick up truck at a quality fire wood supplier for $60 dollars near my house, but that same amount of wood from a Ontario Provincial park would cost about $300 (30-35 bags is about the same amount of wood). If the parks were truley concerned about this, why do they need to profit so much from it?

  44. Holly Humphreys says:

    We will be camping at Inverhuron later this month, so will we be able to purchase firewood from the immediate Kincardine/Port Elgin areas?

  45. Dave says:

    Is anyone from MNR or Ontario Parks going to answer any of these questions posted or clarify any of the issues?