Why is it so hard to get a firewood permit?

I was all set to combine a morning hunt with an afternoon of firewood cutting, but then I tried to get a firewood permit. Turned out it was not such a simple thing.

Getting a hunting license is quite simple. There are hundreds of stores around Wyoming that will happily sell you just about any license you need to hunt just about any critter you can hunt here. Limited quota license obviously aren’t included, but at least you can apply for them online during the application period. You don’t even have to leave your house. Just get on your computer, or even your phone, and put in for the areas you want to hunt, then wait for them to be delivered to your mailbox.

Why isn’t getting a firewood permit that easy? It was for a short while, during the pandemic. For a brief time, you could get a firewood or Christmas tree permit for the Medicine-Bow forest online. So I figured I could print out my permit on Friday, then go hunt on Saturday morning and cut firewood on Saturday afternoon.

But it turns out the Forest Service has devolved. The only way to get a firewood permit now is to go in person to the Forest Service office where you want to cut your firewood and buy a physical permit from a live human at the counter.

I’m not opposed to interacting with a person in order to procure goods and services, but when that makes it difficult to actually make that purchase, it’s a problem. In this case, it means I have to drive to either Laramie or Douglas during business hours to get the permit. But I have a job that requires my presence during those business hours, so I’d have to take time off to go get the permit.

I don’t know why in the twenty-first century you can’t get a firewood permit online. It’s even more confusing knowing they allowed it just a year or so ago, but don’t anymore. But at least it meant I was able to just go hunting over the weekend, rather than have to combine the trip with some work. Thank goodness for the ability to get hunting licenses online or at just about any sporting goods store.