DNR Explores Possibility of Firewood Policy To Avoid Invasive Species Travel

Invasive species can be seen as a threat to Michigan’s environment and now the DNR is drafting a policy to help prevent that.

The DNR says more than 500,000 trees in Michigan state parks have been killed by invasive species.

Now they’re considering a proposed firewood policy to help stop those invasive species from traveling and killing more trees.

9&10’s Megan Woods looked into the difference it would make to campers.

Kasey Mahony, Traverse City State Park Supervisor asks, “Will your grandchildren’s grandchildren be able to come and enjoy these campgrounds and the forest?”

That’s the question behind a potential new state park firewood policy.

Mahony says, “Unfortunately we’ve already lost our ash trees to Emerald Ash Borer and now there’s also a threat of losing maple, oak and even hemlock trees to other forest pests that can be brought in by transporting firewood.”

Now the DNR is drafting up a policy that may include campers buying firewood from the state park or an approved vendor like the National Park Service does.

Mahony says, “Really we’re just trying to look at a comprehensive plan at how can we try and again allow people to have fires and enjoy what a traditional camp feeling is with that fire while also trying to preserve the forest’s health.”

Ken Knol and his family are some of the many that enjoy a nice camp fire. “We’ve brought our own sometimes and sometimes we buy it here. There’s some that are real adamant about bringing their own wood because they have an abundance of wood at home.”

The thought of this policy brings mixed emotions Knol believes this will only slow the invasive species down, not stop it. “I know the firewood they’re more likely to travel on, but they’re still going to travel on other things.”

There’s still plenty of time for you to give your feedback on the policy before the Natural Resource Commission makes a decision.

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