Vermont Parks Enforce State Firewood Ban

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July 24, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment


emerald ash borer

emerald ash borer

At Vermont campgrounds this summer, all firewood is not equal. If you bring your own wood, you may be asked to exchange it — at no cost — for wood supplied by the campground, according to theBurlington Free Press

Two years ago, a campaign was launched to address the forest destruction caused by insects such as the emerald ash borer (shown in photo at left by David Cappaert) and Asian longhorned beetle, said Jay Lackey, forestry specialist for the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. One cause of the infestations: people transporting firewood from areas where these insects live. 

"The thing that's scary is that 85% of the new infestation of emerald ash borer is being started by moving firewood," Lackey said. That's why the department is urging people not to move firewood beyond 50 miles, he said. 

When the campaign started, these insects weren't as close to Vermont. Now, they're at the borders, Lackey said. Last year, the emerald ash borer appeared in Canada. The increased risk of infestation led the state to take more aggressive action, Lackey said. 

In addition to an education component with pamphlets and public workshops, state parks are also providing alternatives to bringing your own wood. All Vermont state parks sell their own firewood, which usually comes from the park itself. People who bring wood will be asked to exchange it with firewood from the park, Lackey said. 

A bundle of wood at any state park goes for $4 per bundle. The price is a bargain, as retailers routinely charge several dollars more. 

The wood from retailers checked by the newspaper came from out-of-state, and neither within the 50-mile guideline. But, these pre-packaged bundles have been labeled as "treated" and "kiln-dried." Wood from retail stores that carry such labels are safe for use, according to the Parks Department website. 

Campers, as well as private campground owners have been cooperative with the campaign, Lackey said. So far, no major problems. 

North Beach Campground

North Beach Campground

Carol Linnell, manager of Burlington's North Beach Campground, notifies people of the firewood guidelines as they make reservations and as they enter the park, she said. Since the park's firewood is less expensive than the bundles at nearby stores, most people purchase it on site, she said. 

There's no way to enforce the rules, and a few people have chosen not to follow the guidelines, Linnell said. "You don't know everything," she said. But, for the most part, "people are pretty good about it." 

Daniel Gibbs, 31, who recently camped at North Beach, purchased his wood from the campground. Cost and convenience were his reasons. 

"It's just such a hassle to carry around wood in your trunk," he said.

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