Buckland wood bank seeks volunteers for April 20 event

A pile of fire wood waiting to be split. Buckland is joining several area towns by creating a community wood bank, in which salvaged trees will be cut and split and made available to families for use in their wood stoves.

A pile of fire wood waiting to be split. Buckland is joining several area towns by creating a community wood bank, in which salvaged trees will be cut and split and made available to families for use in their wood stoves. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DIANE BRONCACCIO

For the Recorder

Published: 03-23-2024 3:01 PM

BUCKLAND — Despite all the trees felled by storms or cut down for utility access, about 13,000 rural households in Massachusetts still experience “energy insecurity,” according to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). But a fairly recent program aims to turn all that wasted timber into heat for families that need it.

Buckland is joining several area towns by creating a community wood bank, in which salvaged trees will be cut and split and made available to Buckland families for use in their wood stoves.

Colrain, Montague, Charlemont, Athol, Goshen and Petersham are among the local towns that have already established wood banks.

A DCR study found that about 50% of energy-insecure homes used some form of wood heat, either as the main heat source or as a backup for oil heat.

The Massachusetts program was started in 2014. Since then, volunteers have put in about 1,000 work hours and provided 100 cords of wood to low-income families and the elderly on fixed incomes.

To start the program, Buckland used money from the Small Town Capital Grant program to buy about $160,000 worth of wood processing equipment, according to Town Administrator Heather Butler. This equipment includes a large and a small splitter, a chipper, and chainsaws and safety equipment.

“We will use approximately $10,000 from a DCR Challenge Grant to purchase two 20-foot-long double-door containers to secure and store the equipment,” Butler added.

Volunteers are needed to help with the wood bank on Saturday, April 20, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. “The location has not been determined, but volunteers of varying degrees of skill are welcome and should contact me for more information,” Butler said. “Representatives from DCR will be here as well.”

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Mystery shrouds case of injured moose euthanized in Sunderland
Montague lands $4.92M EPA grant to demolish Strathmore mill
Propane explosion causes no injuries, but destroys Northfield camper
‘Such a great honor:’ Greenfield’s Kelly Doton to be inducted into the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame on Friday
$338K fraud drains town coffers in Orange
48th annual Bernardston Gas Engine Show expected to be biggest event yet

The town will provide safety gear and equipment, and volunteers will do everything from stacking wood to splitting the cut logs. The town will also provide pizza.

Butler can be reached at twnadmin@town.buckland.ma.us or 413-625-6330, Ext. 5.