Officials at Shenandoah National Park announced that they will be instituting a ban on outside firewood beginning on Monday, March 1.
A park news release said the ban will attempt to slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive beetle.
The beetle is responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of ash trees throughout the Midwest, according to park officials, and has been documented in Fairfax County, about 55 miles from the park’s northern boundary.
White ash trees, comprising approximately four percent of the park’s overall forest, are found in 16 forest communities that together cover 65 percent of the park’s acreage. Given what is known about EAB infestations, an outbreak in Shenandoah National Park could lead to the loss of white ash in the park and surrounding areas.
The wood regulation will require that visitors not bring firewood into the park. Dead and downed firewood in the park may be used and wood can be purchases at park stores.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a somewhat similar ban in place as well. Although not a complete ban, firewood from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec can not be brought into the park.
The ban in the Smokies was put in place to prevent the spread of the Emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle into the park.
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