Park Resource Managers recently confirmed the Smokies first backcountry emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation. According to Great Smoky Mountains National Park Biologist, Glenn Taylor, "The emerald ash borer is a 1/2 inch-long metallic green beetle that lays eggs on the bark on all species of ash trees. After hatching, the EAB larvae burrow under the bark, and create feeding tunnels that cut off nutrient and water flow to the tree. The tree can die in three to five years." Accidentally introduced to North America from Asia, EAB was first discovered in southeast Michigan in 2002, and has spread to 16 states and two Canadian provinces killing tens of millions of ash trees.
Complete eradication of EAB is not currently feasible, but Park Resource Managers are developing a management plan to maintain public safety and protect ash trees where possible. EAB and other tree pests can be transported in firewood. Park regulations prohibit bringing firewood to the Smokies from areas that have been quarantined for EAB or other destructive pests. For more information about firewood regulations at the Smokies, visit the park website.
Hiking in the Smokies