Frederick County

Forest Conservancy District Board

Role in Timber Harvest Plans

in a Resource Conservation Zone

To: Forest Landowners, Foresters, Timber Buyers, and Loggers

Our Mission: The primary mission of the Frederick County Forest Conservancy District Board is to promote the conservation, stewardship, and sustainable use of the forest resources of this county, both urban and rural, through advocacy and education of sound forest management principles. We accomplish this through our workshops, newsletters, and partnerships.

Authority: The Forestry Board does not have any regulatory authority, but it does have a duty to receive and pass on proposed work plans for timber harvesting in a Resource Conservation Zone in Frederick. The Board does not review timber harvest plans when the owner intends a change in land use.

Zoning Ordinance: The Frederick County Zoning Ordinance provides that in a Resource Conservation District, commercial logging and timber harvesting operations shall be subject to review and approval of a timber harvest plan by the Frederick County Forest Conservancy District Board as well as approved by Permits and Inspections. In practice, the County Department of Permits and Inspections will not issue a grading permit for a commercial timber harvest in a RC District until the Zoning Administrator is informed that the landowner has a timber harvest plan approved by the Forestry Board. Deviation from the plan may be a basis for revocation of the permit and possible fines could follow.

Plan Requirements: The Forestry Board has been reviewing timber harvest plans for many years. Experience has taught us that certain information is essential for the Board to carry out its duties. Some of these requirements may be on the permit application from the County, however the Board feels that those below are essential to achieving the landowner’s objectives. The information may be placed on a letter of request, the application from the county, or on the actual plot drawing. To save time from sending out two requests, the applicant can send a duplicate copy of the County’s application and plot drawing to both the Forestry Board and the Permits and Inspections office at the same time.

  1. Include the Applicant and/or the landowners’ name, address, phone numbers, and emails. The emails will allow the Forestry Board to send their reply as soon as possible. The landowner should also sign the request to ensure the information is correct and meets their objectives.

  2. Location of the harvest site should be clearly marked showing the street address and its relationship to the nearest crossroad.

  3. A statement of the landowners’ objectives from the timber harvest will help the Forestry Board decide if any recommendations are needed.

  4. The number of acres in the harvest site, the basal area both before and after the harvest, and the number of trees to be removed should be listed.

  5. The type of harvest to be performed should be stated. Examples are clear cutting, thinning, individual selection and group selection.

  6. Other important items to be listed on the plot plan are a north arrow, main entry and exit points for the logs, clearly marked boundaries, location of roads, trails, landing areas, and loading decks. Streams, creeks, wetlands, and buffer zones should also be listed on the plot drawing.

  7. Trees to be harvested shall be marked at approximately eye level, with all markings facing in the same direction. Marking the base or stump of the trees would be recommended for ease of final inventory. Should different colors be used for certain types of trees, a color code should be included.

NOTE: It is understood that not all requests will be presented in the same format.

The Forestry Board, having no legal authority, will look at these requests from the standpoint of helping the landowner achieve their objectives, as well as to promote the conservation and stewardship of the forest. If only some of the recommended requirements are given by the applicant, the Board will continue to schedule a review of the harvest site and send out their reply as soon as possible. The Permits and Inspections office of Frederick County will make any final decisions as to whether there is enough information for issuing the final permit.

What To Expect: If a landowner or the landowners’ agent submits a plan, the Forestry Board is obligated to review it and advise the applicant whether it meets with their approval. If appropriate, the Board may make some additional recommendations to the landowner or on the statement of approval. Generally, to review a plan, Board members must visit the site of the proposed timber harvest, as they are authorized to do so by law. Submission of a plan by or on behalf of a landowner constitutes permission for the Board and its agents to enter the property.

Guidelines For Inspection:

  1. Board members involved will introduce themselves to the landowner and explain what they will be looking for during the inspection.

  2. One of the main goals is to help the applicant achieve the objectives that they have listed on the application. The Forestry Board will submit a follow up report to the landowner, the applicant, and to the County authorities indicating their approval.

  3. At this point in the process, hopefully the applicant has worked out details with the logger like contracts, pricing, timing, insurance, safety guidelines, job site conditions, inspections, and other items that will be encountered.

  4. Questions regarding where to find additional information on the Timber Harvest operation can be discussed with the Board members that are involved with the inspection. Information concerning everything from Woodland Stewardship to Tax Planning is an important part of having to reach the overall objectives.

  5. Site details and tree markings will be inspected to see how they relate to the plot drawing that was provided with the application.

  6. Location of important details like logging entry areas, road and trail locations, timber landing areas, buffer zones, etc. will be looked at to ensure that the best forest management practices can be followed.

  7. Other items like insect and disease infestations, potential waterway involvement, and evidence of invasive or undesirable plants will be discussed with the landowner/applicant or pointed out on the approval statement.

Final Recommendations:

  1. Be sure to contact the Environmental Compliance Section (ECS), as listed on the County’s application, to schedule a preconstruction meeting prior to beginning work.

  2. For more information, consult Michael Kay, who is a Forester with the Maryland Forest Service and the Forestry Board’s Executive Secretary. Address is 8602 Gambrill Park Road, Frederick, Md. 21702. 301-473-8417

  3. Links to recommended web sites that discuss the best management practices for a forest harvest can be found below.

February 10, 2021