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For over 70 years Camp Small has been the City’s collection facility for removed and downed street trees and park trees. Camp Small’s urban wood utilization initiative began in 2016 after receiving an Innovation fund of $98,000 from the City’s Bureau of Budget and Management Resource. The program took off quickly, and through the revenue of sales and savings, we were able to pay back the fund within the first two years.

Recently, Camp Small has made some big strides in its utilization efforts. We worked closely with BCRP’s Capital Improvement to target upcoming building projects where we could implement lumber made from our own logs. Last year, 130 big logs of Ash, Walnut, and Poplar were delivered to a local sawmill. There, they were cut into tongue and groove boards to be used in the interior design of the future Cahill Recreation Center. This year, we were able to do something similar with 200 logs from trees in Gwynns Falls Leakin Park that were removed due to BGE’s Granite Pipeline Project. These acts of utilization are a huge win for Baltimore City and its efforts of sustainability. The logs also provide the department a savings of $170k in the cost of lumber.

This lumber, milled from City trees, will be used in the interior design of the future Cahill Recreation Center | Photo: Doug Wolinski

Last year, Recreation and Parks created its first nature play space, and thirty logs from Camp Small were utilized throughout the play area for climbing, seating, and as a border. Earlier this year we donated a dozen logs to Francis Scott Key Elementary for their new outdoor play-scape. At Windsor Hill Elementary, we donated logs and wood chips for a fantastic nature play area that was implemented by the National Wildlife Federation. In addition to play spaces, many logs are being used as seating for outdoor classrooms and community spaces. We also had over 50 sitting logs spread out around last year’s ArtScape Festival.

In January of this year, Camp Small was awarded a grant from American Forests for the purchase of a portable bandsaw mill and a lumber kiln to help create a wood products program at Camp Small. We will be working with vocational-technical programs in our City Schools and work development programs through our non-profit partners to create lumber from our City trees that will be used in projects throughout Baltimore.

Camp Small’s portable bandsaw mill cutting a large log from an Ash tree that was removed due to EAB infestation | Photo: Erik Dihle

In other news, Camp Small continues to sell firewood to residents through its Woodhawks membership program. It continues to sell logs to local artists, wood turners, mushroom growers, furniture makers, a local whiskey barrel company, and to local band-saw mill operators. Our wood chips are being distributed throughout City agencies for many applications, from utility purposes at construction sites to garden paths at City Schools and CityFarms. They’ve been sold to residents for soil remediation, flower gardens, and pathways. Our first annual Wood Chip Give-Away Day was held this year in coordination with the Mayor’s Spring Clean-Up Day. It was a success, as dozens of residents came in trucks or with buckets in hand to receive free wood chips.

By Shaun Preston, Camp Small Yardmaster

August 2018