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National Lakeshore Campers Asked to Help Prevent Spread of Insect Pest
Campers headed to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore can help prevent the spread of a devastating pest, the Emerald Ash Borer. This insect can move to new places in infested firewood and then spread to local ash trees. The trees are then killed within one to three years.
The Emerald Ash Borer, native to Asia, was first found in the U.S. near Detroit in 2002. This small beetle bores holes in ash trees to lay its eggs. The insect larva then feeds directly beneath the bark, ultimately killing the tree. An estimated 15 million ash trees in North America have already been killed.
To help keep the borer out of the dunes, campers should not bring any firewood from home. Instead, use local sources of firewood. Wood is for sale at several locations near the Dunewood Campground. It is illegal to cut or gather wood in the campground or national lakeshore. Campers who do bring wood from outside the area should not take leftover wood home. Instead, it should be burned completely.
Laws prohibiting the movement of firewood from effected counties are in place in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. For information on the counties in the quarantined area, use the web address: www. emeraldashborer.info.
Indiana Dunes is home to four species of ash tree, including one not found elsewhere in this region. Preventing the spread of the borer can not only protect the park’s trees, but also the ash trees commonly used in home landscaping and along city streets.
For more information on this pest, contact the National Lakeshore’s Wildlife Biologist, Randy Knutson, at 219-926-7561, extension 334. For information on sources of local firewood, contact the park’s information desk at 219-926-7561, extension 225.