DRY BRANCH, Ga. — The Georgia Forestry Commission has launched a new website that streamlines the timber harvest notification process for harvesters and counties across the state. Timber harvesters can now file notifications on the site, and the notices will go directly to the counties and/or cities that require such notifications. The timber harvest notification website is found at https://gatrees.org/forest-management-conservation/timber-harvest-notifications/.
“This is a win-win across the board,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Director Tim Lowrimore. “All the major stakeholders were at the design table and what’s being rolled out is vital for the security of Georgia’s $36.3 billion forest industry.”
Changes to Official Code of Georgia 12-6-24 came out of a Georgia House of Representatives bill passed in 2020. A special timber harvest ordinance working group lead by the Georgia Forestry Association developed bill specifics, including increased fines for harvesters who fail to notify the county in which they are operating, increased bond amounts for harvesters who have previously been found to cause damage to county roads, and a narrowed scope of when bonds can be used. A directive for the creation of the timber harvest notification website was also included, and in 2021 the Georgia Forestry Commission led the design of the website and testing took place in several Georgia counties.
“The system needs to work for everyone,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Forests Management Chief Scott Griffin. “What we and our partners have developed in the pilot phase checks all the boxes and allows for necessary tweaking down the road. Most importantly, the information collected follows the letter of the law and the website itself is intuitive and easy to use.”
After the website’s formal launch in January 2022, counties will begin transitioning their timber harvest notification processes to the new system. Within 18 months, the website will become the required format for counties to receive timber harvest notifications.
The Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) was instrumental in aiding the design and launch of Georgia’s new Timber Harvest Notification process. For more information about the legislation, its features, and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission visit gatrees.org.
–Georgia Forestry Commission