Collecting branches for wreath-makers is a business that can be very profitable.
It’s called tipping.
There are also rules and regulations to follow.
“They’re required to have landowner permission, they’re required to tip in the areas that the landowner wants them to tip, they more than likely cannot cut the whole tree down, so what we’re doing, is we’re out here trying to protect the landowners property,” says District Ranger, Peter Pelletier, of the Maine Forest Service.
“They make us go by the same standards as if we were cutting, you know, with large logging equipment. That’s where our biggest cost is. And, then we pay so much a pound in stumpage, what we pick on top of that,” says Everett Kennedy, who has been tipping full-time for about six years.
Maine Forest Rangers just made a big bust of 1500 pounds of stolen tips.
“There are folks that take advantage of areas where they think they can get away without having to purchase the permits,” said Pelletier.
Rangers say the stolen tips aren’t wasted.
“We confiscate those tips. We take those tips to a buyer, who gives us a voucher for the amount, quantity of tips that we turn in. Then after prosecution, if those individuals are convicted of tipping illegally, the money goes back to the landowner,” says Pelletier.
If you’re interested in tree tipping, rangers can help guide you to keep it legal.