Downed timber along Route 7 being cleared

BENNINGTON — Downed timber along several miles of Route 7 following a utility pole relocation project has found a home.

Numerous logs, most on steep banks and difficult to reach without heavy equipment, were strewn over a stretch of highway between Bennington and Pownal. The Green Mountain Power project installed new poles and trimmed back nearby trees.

By mid-November, however, the logs were beginning to generate complaints, including from the Pownal Select Board, primarily focusing on concerns the wood posed a safety hazard.

A GMP spokeswoman said the utility was reaching out to local service groups and the United Way for assistance in distributing the logs for firewood and planned to have the wood removed within about two weeks.

Kayla Becker, area director for the United Way, said she was contacted and looked into ways to donate the lumber before hearing about a possible contact through a Facebook post. That soon put her in touch with Amy Cloud of Dunham Avenue in North Bennington, who heats entirely with wood and knows other families also interested in firewood.

"There were many truck loads," Becker said.

A contractor has been delivering the logs to the Cloud property, and nearly all of the wood has now been removed from the roadside.

Cloud said her daughter, Kat Cloud, noticed the Facebook post and made the initial phone call to learn more.

Thus far, Cloud said, at least three families are expected to share the wood, which she estimated currently totals about a log truck's worth — the amount her family annually has delivered.

Cloud has a field on her property where the logs are being stored while they season until at least next winter and can be cut down to size and split. In addition, she said some of wood is pine, which would not be suitable for an indoor woodstove but can be used in her outdoor wood furnace.


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