In an effort to address the threat posed by the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB), the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation urges both residents and visitors to stay informed and follow recommendations. As part of the Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week, May 22 to May 28, 2023, Vermont renews its commitment to safeguarding its ash tree population, while increasing public safety.
"We understand the importance of ash trees to Vermont's forests, and the threat posed by the emerald ash borer cannot be ignored," said Danielle Fitzko, Commissioner of the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. "We are taking proactive steps to protect public safety and slow the spread of this invasive species. We urge the public to do their part by following our recommendations."
The EAB begins its flight season on June 1, when they will emerge from infested ash trees, logs, and firewood and seek new host trees and mates. To help slow the spread of the EAB:
- Do not move firewood.
- Use local firewood.
- Report signs of infestation to FPR.
As part of its response to EAB infestation in Vermont, FPR has evaluated and begun removing susceptible ash trees from high-use areas on state lands, particularly state parks, to protect public safety.
Ash tree removal has been conducted at Grand Isle State Park, Emerald Lake State Park, Lake St. Catherine State Park, and Coolidge State Park. Some regular park visitors may notice a difference, such as small branches and wood on the ground near sites, trails and roads, more open areas, some soil disturbance, and newly seeded ground. Importantly, these areas are now safer and can remain open as EAB continues to move through the state.
Removing these trees improves forest health and public safety; helps keep state parks and state forests accessible to the public; and the harvested wood can be used for heating and lumber, benefiting Vermonters and our local economy.
The emerald ash borer is an invasive species that has killed millions of ash trees in the United States since its arrival in 2002 and poses a significant threat to Vermont's ash population. Ash trees are important to Vermont's forests, providing valuable habitat and economic benefits, and protecting public safety is essential in the face of this invasive pest.
Thousands of ash trees across the state's parks and forests pose a potential danger to buildings, people, campsites, and high-use trails. Ash trees, once killed by the EAB, become brittle, significantly increasing the risk, complexity, and cost associated with their removal. As a result, many affected areas would have to be closed until the dead and dying trees are safely eliminated. In an effort to avert park and high-use area closures on state lands, FPR has embarked on a proactive campaign to remove certain ash trees before and shortly after EAB infestation occurs.
For more information on the EAB, report signs, and the slow the spread recommendations, visit VTinvasives.org.
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