Timber Harvest Permit Process

The role of the Frederick County Forest Conservancy District Board's can be found at Role in Timber Harvest Plans in a Resource Conservation Zone.

This webpage has been created to help you work through the timber harvest permit process in Frederick County, Maryland. This is required when the ground disturbance area is over 5,000 SF. Ground disturbance is mainly the roads, trails and loading decks. The area where trees are felled should not be included.

Table of Contents

Timber Harvest Flowchart

Below you will find a visual flowchart that summarizes the steps of this process. Each step in the process is explained in detail as part of this webpage

Credit: frederick.forestryboard.org - Bruce Phillips

Step 1: Application

Pick up the application plus additional information at the Department of Permits and Inspections at 30 Market Street, Frederick Maryland or you can download the application. Page 2 of the applications will provide the Limitations, Conditions and Requirements to determine if a Major or Minor logging permit can be used. Once you determine which you need you can move on to Step 2.


  • Questions concerning the application process can be addressed by calling the phone number on Page 2 of the application. Requesting the service of a licensed forester is another method that can be used to help with the application.

  • A licensed forester will be required to help prepare the application and/or the plot drawing if any of the following plans or conditions are selected on the application.

    1. If the "Major Logging Box" is selected, this will require a custom erosion and sediment control plane by a licensed forester.

    2. Special easement areas may require a licensed forester.

    3. Harvesting in a buffer area - If an uncut buffer area is indicated on the plot drawing, then this area normally cannot be harvested. If the drawing is prepared by a licensed forester, then this area may be selectively harvested.

    4. The applicant may prepare part of the desired plan and have a licensed forester prepare their part.

  • If the minor logging box is selected on the application, a licensed forester will not be required.

Step 2: Plan type

Decide at this point which type of permit you will be presenting. Completely fill out the application and attach a plot drawing showing items necessary for a visual summary of your planned harvest.


  • Be sure to include all information requested on the plot drawing as well as what is requested on the general application.

  • In addition to the items required on the application for the plan and plot drawing, it is recommended that adding the following items to the plot drawing would be a beneficial.

    1. Description of the objective (Why are you harvesting the timber?)

    2. Description of the harvest type (individual selection, group selection, quality and condition of trees, etc.)

    3. Indication of any sensitive areas (waterways, wetlands, springs, steep slopes, etc.)

    4. Trees to be harvested should be marked at approximately eye level and the base with colored paint, preferably all on the same side of the tree. A color code should be used if more than one color is applied.

    5. Pre and post harvest of the basal areas.

    6. Buffer zones, if needed.

Step 3: Resource Conservation Zone

If you are not in a Resource Conservation Zone ("RC Zone", referred to as a Forest Conservation Zone on the application,) go to Step 4.

If you are in an RC Zone a "Letter of Approval" is required to be issued by the Frederick County Forest Conservancy District Board (referred to as the Forestry Board).

In order to facilitate the permit process, it is recommended that you make duplicate copies of the application and plot drawings , sending one copy to the Forestry Board and one to the Department of permits and inspections at the same time. You may submit an electronic version to the Forestry Board at email address fc.timber.harvest.permit@forestryboard.org or you can submit a paper copy to the following address;

Frederick County Forest Conservancy District Board

8602 Gambrill Park Road

Frederick, MD. 21702

The county will start the permit process while the Forestry Board performs their review. The county will not issue the permit until they receive the "Letter of Approval".


  • The Forestry Board will look over the application and plot drawing to make sure it adheres to the intent of the applicant's stated objectives and that it uses sound forest management principles in the RC zone. The Forestry Board does not have regulatory authority, but may make additional recommendations as needed. After a positive review, the Forestry Board will issue the "Letter of Approval" sending a copy to the landowner and Department of Permits and Inspections.

  • Submission of a plan or application by or on behalf of the landowner constitutes permission for the Forestry Board and its agents to enter the property.

Step 4: Review Process

The submission will be reviewed by the Department of Permits and Inspections, once the associated fees have been paid. The following agencies will be doing the review:

  1. Soil Conservation District (SCD) - reviews the grading plan, sediment and erosion control measures.

  2. Environmental Compliance Section (ECS) - reviews the objective and environmentally sensitive areas to see if correct information on the application is being used based on the disturbed area, "Letter of Approval" has been received from the forestry board for work in an RC Zone, signed Declaration of Intent (DOI), etc.

  3. Development Review Engineering (DRE) - reviews for storm water implications.

  4. Zoning - reviews of property boundaries, access, restrictions, environmentally sensitive areas, easements, zoning designation of the parcel, etc.


All above agencies are under the Department of Permits and Inspections except for SCD.

Step 5: Permit issued

Once all agencies have issued their approvals, the logging permit will be issued. It is the responsibility of ECS as well as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to inspect the site during the timber harvest operation.


ECS and DNR have the authority to suspend operations and levy fines if the work being performed does not match the work authorized in the logging permit.

Helpful Information

  1. If you are in an RC Zone, you must send the application and plot drawing to the forestry board for their approval letter at the same time you are sending a duplicate copy to the department of permits and inspections.

  2. Information on erosion and sediment control can be found in the latest version of the Maryland standards and specifications for soil erosion and sediment control (this document has several blank pages in it so just scroll past them.)

  3. If applicant is clear cutting more than 20,000 SF of forest, they will be subject to the forest resource ordinance (FRO) requirements as stated on the application. If applicable, a declaration of intent may be used to provide exemption from these requirements. There is a place for signing on the application and applicant will agree to have the forest in commercial use for at least 5 years or FRO will be enforced.

  4. Be sure to read over the conditions and requirements on page 2 of 3 of the application.

  5. Notice when signing and notarizing the application, there will be penalties for any falsifications or failing to comply with any of the terms and conditions.

  6. It would be helpful to show best management practices relating to soil erosion like location of silt fences, straw bails, etc. (if required) on the plot drawing. Most are required on drawings when areas of disturbance are over 5,000 sf. They are usually at haul roads, skid trails, landings, and water crossings.

  7. Pre-construction meetings may be requested should the applicant require assistance before starting the harvest.

  8. Prior to the start, don’t forget to notify “ECS” as stated in the application 24 hours prior to any earth disturbance.

  9. Notify “ECS” within 5 days of completing the work to obtain your final acceptance.