The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges Fourth of July Holiday week campers to help prevent the spread of invasive forest pests such as the emerald ash borer (EAB).
"Please take a few simple steps to stop invasive species in your tracks," said Susan Burks, DNR Forestry invasive species program coordinator.
Come clean to a campsite by taking a little time to inspect and remove dirt, plants and bugs from clothing, boots, gear, pets and vehicles.
Use only local or certified firewood. Before camping, check for any firewood restrictions at intended campsite. Only firewood purchased at a state park or from a DNR-approved vendor may be brought onto any DNR-administered lands. For a list of DNR-approved firewood vendors, visit the DNR website (www.dnr.state.mn.us/firewood_vendors/vendors/list.html). The receipt supplied by the approved vendor must be retained as proof of purchase.
Stay on designated trails when walking, hiking, biking or riding your horse or OHV.
Leave the campsite clean by inspecting belongings and removing any dirt, plants or bugs. Burn all remaining firewood before leaving campsite or return it to the campsite host, don't bring firewood home.
Visit the PlayCleanGo website (www.playcleango.org/takeaction.html) for more information on how to stop the spread of invasive species.
Invasive forest pests in Minnesota
In 2009 EAB was found in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul. In 2010, it was found in the Prospect Park East River Road neighborhood of Minneapolis and at the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Area of Houston County. Last year, it was found in the city of Shoreview, and in multiple Winona County locations.
To slow the spread of EAB, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has quarantined Hennepin, Houston, Ramsey and Winona counties. Movement of the following items out of quarantined counties is prohibited:
Firewood from hardwood trees.
Entire ash trees.
Ash limbs and branches.
Ash logs or untreated ash lumber with bark attached.
Uncomposted ash chips and uncomposted ash bark chips greater than 1 inch in two of three dimensions.
Details of the quarantine can be found at the MDA's website (www.mda.state.mn.us/en/plants/pestmanagement/eab/regulatoryinfo.aspx).
While EAB spreads slowly on its own, it can move long distances very quickly when people transport firewood or other wood products infested with larvae.
EAB is an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees. Its larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and cutting off the tree's supply of water and nutrients. Since its accidental introduction into North America, EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees in 15 states and Ontario and Quebec, Canada.
"Minnesota is a prime target for EAB with nearly 1 billion ash trees," Burks said. "Remember, come clean and leave clean to help stop the movement of forest pests."
Visit the PlayCleanGo website (www.playcleango.org/invasives.html) for more information on invasive species.