Department of Conservation and Natural Resources officials Friday announced work on 72 acres within Bald Eagle State Park’s Rustic Camping Area will include a timber salvage harvest on the tract, consisting of mixed hardwoods and many dead and dying white ash trees affected by an emerald ash borer infestation. Work is scheduled to begin later this month.
A timber salvage sale is being used to remove trees in the Rustic Camping Area, one mile off of Route 26, near Howard. All ash and hazardous trees within a 1½ tree-length from campsites, roads and bathhouses are targeted for removal. Trees that are not within the described distance of a park facility will not be removed.
“White ash is a significant component of the forested stands within and surrounding the Rustic Camping Area of Bald Eagle State Park. Unfortunately, they have been dramatically impacted by the emerald ash borer, an invasive wood-boring insect,” said Bald Eagle State Park Manager Michael Winters. “This non-native invasive insect kills nearly every ash tree in a forest stand once it becomes infected, leaving dead and dying trees in its wake. Decline of ash trees after infestation is quite dramatic and cannot be reversed; the only option is to remove the trees that are safety hazards for park visitors.”
The emerald ash borer is an exotic invasive forest pest that infests all ash species. The larva live and feed just under the tree bark. This damage disrupts the transport of water and nutrients between the roots, leaves, and growing tissues causing a rapid decline and death of the tree.
The structural traits of ash, those that also make ash an excellent wood for baseball bats, render dying trees hazardous. When branches break off or trees come down it is often quick and unpredictable -- resembling a baseball bat shattering.
Overseen by DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry, the salvage harvest effort will entail retention of all other healthy, hardwood tree species in the area. Once removal is complete, re-planting plans will be discussed.
Pennsylvania's 17 million acres of forestland provide critical values to society, including clean water, recreation opportunities, plant and animal habitat, and raw materials for a long-established forest products industry, said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.
“Active monitoring and management for invasive species such as the emerald ash borer is essential if Pennsylvania forests are to survive the last several decades of changing climate, land-use patterns, declines in forest health, and the economic recession that threaten forest-related values and reduce the number of forest-based jobs.”For more information, visit DCNR’s Emerald Ash Borer and Bald Eagle State Park webpages. Click Here to sign up for DCNR’s Resource newsletter.