Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Saturday, February 4th, 2023

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New firewood rules possible on state land by this spring

By Joe
Albert

Staff Writer

St. Cloud, Minn. — Campers and others who have campfires at
state parks or on other state-managed land could be in for some
changes once the next camping season rolls around.

DNR officials, during Roundtable sessions last week, unveiled a
proposal that would place regulations upon the firewood that could
be brought onto state-managed lands. The plan, which likely could
become a bill this legislative session, attempts to limit the
movement of forest diseases and pests such as the emerald ash
borer.

“We’re hoping to fast-track this so it will be in place for the
spring 2007 camping season,” said Ed Quinn, state parks resource
management coordinator for the DNR.

While the legislation hasn’t been written, campers and others,
essentially, could possess only firewood that’s been approved by
the commissioners of the DNR or Department of Agriculture.

The state of Wisconsin made a similar move last year, and its
rules prohibit people from bringing firewood onto state-managed
land from anywhere more than 50 miles away, or from outstate.

In Minnesota, the DNR has been working on the link between
firewood and forest species pests for the past 18 months, and
efforts have intensified in the past six months, according to Luke
Skinner, of the DNR Division of Ecological Services.

The problem is “just on the doorstep,” he said.

A variety of pests can be transported via firewood, including,
among others, Asian long-horned beetle larvae and emerald ash
borer, an exotic beetle that was introduced from China in the early
1990s near Detroit. Since then, it’s spread to Ohio, Michigan, and
Indiana and killed as many as 20 million trees.

Emerald ash borer, which affects only ash trees, can kill a tree
within two to three years, according to Steve Katovich, of the U.S.
Forest Service.

Under the DNR’s plan to limit firewood movement, only certain
types of firewood would be allowed on state-managed land: wood for
sale at such sites; wood purchased from approved local vendors;
wood from within Minnesota that has been de-barked; some
dimensional lumber, such as two-by-fours; and coniferous wood from
Minnesota.

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