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State Parks Offer Voluntary Firewood Restriction

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has initiated a voluntary firewood restriction, effective immediately, at all state parks and state recreation areas. This restriction is an effort to prevent the spread of the destructive emerald ash borer.

The spread of the borer and other invasive pests can be prevented if park users acquire firewood within 50 miles of their park destination and burn all their wood, especially if brought from another state, rather than transporting to another location. Signs will be posted at all parks.

In addition, park users who bring firewood from other states to Niobrara, Ponca, Eugene T. Mahoney and Indian Cave state parks, as well as Pawnee State Recreation Area, will be asked to participate in a voluntary firewood exchange. They may exchange their firewood for an equal volume of locally acquired firewood available at park offices or campground hosts.

The emerald ash borer, a native of Asia, was first discovered in North America in the Detroit area in 2002. It has been confirmed in 19 states and two Canadian provinces. Borer larvae kill all ash trees, native and introduced, in forested and urban landscapes by feeding in cambium layers beneath the bark, slowly girdling the tree. Borer larvae have moved rapidly across the country by hitching a ride in firewood transported by recreationists and firewood vendors. The borer has not been discovered in Nebraska but was confirmed 100 miles from the border in Wyandotte County, Kansas, in 2012.

To limit firewood movement, park users can:

— Purchase firewood at parks that sell it.

— Purchase firewood at vendors near many parks

— Gather dead firewood lying on the ground within parks.

Learn more about invasive pests and the risk of transporting firewood at www.emeraldashborer.info or www.dontmovefirewood.org.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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