Create an On-line Firewood Directory
States can encourage better firewood practices by consumers by providing information about local firewood vendors through use of a searchable online directory. When the directory is accurate and reliable, consumers are more likely to adopt its use.
Basic Requirements for the Directory
- Easily accessible by the user.
- Usable on mobile devices.
- Directory is regularly updated and reviewed by the state.
- Availability of on-line directory is promoted by the state.
- Firewood vendors are searchable in the database by location.
- Firewood vendors are located either throughout the state or throughout high-traffic camping areas.
- There are sufficient vendors to provide choice to consumers.
Adding Vendors to the Directory
It can be daunting to create a firewood directory, particularly in states where firewood vendors are not registered. An on-line directory is most useful when it provides ample choice of firewood vendors spread geographically through the state. States are encouraged to set low minimum standards for inclusion of a vendor on the directory in order to increase accessibility of local firewood. There are a variety of ways to quickly populate a vendor list.
- Contact certified firewood kilns or heat treatment facilities in your state and ask for their product distribution information.
- Reach out to regional or national chain grocery, gas, truck stop, hardware, or home improvement stores to inquire if they can provide a spreadsheet of their locations that typically sell firewood.
- Use targeted internet searches to identify lists of businesses. Vendors found on public directories can be listed on the directory without an opt-in process. Targeted internet searches might include:
- All entities that maintain campgrounds (state, federal, or private).
- In Google Maps do a search for: firewood, firewood seller, firewood distributor, firewood for sale, etc.
- Tree care or tree service companies.
- Craigslist, social media auctioning sites, classified ads, and other e-commerce used in your state to search for firewood sales.
- Utilize Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) crews, agricultural inspectors, or other employees that travel widely to find firewood vendors during normal field work. Develop an outreach item that can be left at roadside stands with instructions for vendors to contact you to be added to the list. Roadside vendors should not be added to the directory without their approval, as many sell from their private homes or property.
Budget for Creating and Maintaining the Directory
The largest portion of the budget for the on-line directory will be personnel costs to create and maintain the directory. Costs and effort can be distributed across cooperating agencies in your state. States have also been successful obtaining funding through Plant Protection Act § 7721 Goal 5 funds. Funding for an on-line firewood directory might also be appropriate for other federal grant sources, such as Forest Service Wood Products Promotion Grants.
Promote the Directory
Encourage widespread use by promoting it. Partner with campgrounds, use social media campaigns, include information about availability of outreach items, promote it at targeted expos and tradeshows, and provide outreach items for firewood vendors to display at check-out counters.
You can develop whatever tool works best for your state. One tool that already exists is Firewood Scout, a pay-for-service modeled directory that is managed by a small non-profit in Michigan. Currently, Firewood Scout is the only multi-state public on-line firewood directory available, and consumers may be more likely to adopt the use of a firewood directory that is available regionally or nationally. The Firewood Scout membership packet is available in the appendices.