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IFallsRon

Corps has new firewood restrictions

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The use of firewood is under new restrictions at recreation sites operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the St. Paul District, the corps announced today, in an effort to thwart the spread of the troublesome emerald ash borer.

The emerald ash borer is an invasive bug that hitchhikes on firewood. It has killed more than 20 million ash trees in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Ontario, the corps said, and has also damaged ash trees in Illinois and Maryland.

The pest has not yet shown up in Minnesota, but officials are sacrificing trees, setting traps and training volunteers as part of a statewide early detection system.

Minnesota has the third-largest volume of ash timber in the nation. There are more than 700 million ash trees in Wisconsin, and ash are prevalent in North Dakota as well.

The corps' St. Paul District operates nine recreation sites in Minnesota (including Gull Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish) and two each in Wisconsin and North Dakota. For a map of all 13, visit www.mvp.usace.army.mil/recreation.

Last year, Minnesota passed a law banning firewood from state parks, forests and other state lands unless it has been purchased from an approved firewood vendor. Starting May 1, any nonapproved firewood brought onto state Department of Natural Resources lands is subject to confiscation and a $100 fine, said Val Cervenka, DNR forest health supervisor.

"This year our emphasis is to educate the public," Randy Urich, corps' forester, said today. "The district has posted signage at its recreation sites that advise the use of wood that is certified to be pest-free or is of local origin. We have posters and brochures to educate the public, and our rangers are educating visitors."

Specifically, the corps is prohibiting the possession, transportation, use or storage of firewood originating from greater than 100 miles (50 miles in Wisconsin) from district lands or the current state limit, whichever is more restrictive; or from across state or national boundaries, unless the firewood has been officially certified as pest-free.

"The prohibition doesn't affect you, if you didn't bring firewood with you or if you brought it from within 100 miles (50 miles in Wisconsin) of a district recreation site," Urich said. "If you brought firewood from outside of this distance, you will be asked to show proof of purchase from an approved, pest-free firewood vendor.

"If you brought firewood from outside this distance and do not have proof of purchase from an approved vendor, you will not be allowed to bring the wood into the recreation area."

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ash borer is no joke, back home in Michigan all the trees are dead and cut... entire subdivisions bare. its quite scary

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Specifically, the corps is prohibiting the possession, transportation, use or storage of firewood originating from greater than 100 miles (50 miles in Wisconsin) from district lands or the current state limit, whichever is more restrictive; or from across state or national boundaries, unless the firewood has been officially certified as pest-free.

"The prohibition doesn't affect you, if you didn't bring firewood with you or if you brought it from within 100 miles (50 miles in Wisconsin) of a district recreation site," Urich said. "If you brought firewood from outside of this distance, you will be asked to show proof of purchase from an approved, pest-free firewood vendor.

"If you brought firewood from outside this distance and do not have proof of purchase from an approved vendor, you will not be allowed to bring the wood into the recreation area."

I went to a park last year within 45 miles of my house, where my firewood was cut and split earlier in the summer, and it was confiscated. I understand that there is a concern, but they need to follow the rules they themselves set. I put a lot of time and money into preparing my own firewood because I don't like the thin stuff they sell, and didn't appreciate it when it got taken when I read the rules and followed them. Needless to say I won't be visiting any of these campgrounds anymore until it straightened out. Again, I realize that it is a concern and I don't want to see it happen here. That being the case, they need to simply say "no outside firewood allowed, must be purchased here" and everyone would be on the same page.

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