Don’t Bring Your Own Firewood to Yosemite

In Nature, Tips, Travel, Wildlife

While not necessarily an invasive species, this photo shows the damage that bugs can do to trees in Yosemite. Photo by Letsgetridofny.

@YosemiteScience posted a link to this interesting page I hadn’t seen before. Yosemite National Park Service officials are asking that you don’t bring your own firewood into the park. Why? Because it can bring invasive bugs and diseases that could cause great damage to Yosemite’s fragile ecosystem.

What Is Yosemite National Park Doing about Forest Pests?

It is much easier to prevent the introduction of a forest pest than it is to control an infestation after it has been introduced. Early detection is also important in managing a spread. Park managers are conducting aerial surveys, monitoring traps and forest health, identifying potential for introduction of non-native insects and diseases, and educating the public in order to prevent any introductions from occurring.

How Can Visitors Help Prevent the Spread of Forest Pests?

Don’t transport firewood outside a 50-mile radius of location of procurement: Forest pests don’t stop at the park border, and they can cause serious problems when they spread to wild areas. Use local firewood, leave unused wood behind when you go home, and burn firewood where you bought it.
Don’t bring outside plant materials into the park: It might seem attractive to brighten your campsite with a supermarket azalea, or, if you live in the park, to plant a row of rhododendrons from a nursery in front of your cabin. Plants from outside nurseries can bring new insects and diseases into Yosemite.

How Can Visitors Properly Obtain Wood in the Park?

It’s permitted to gather downed wood in the park for personal use. It’s prohibited, however, to gather wood in certain areas: in Yosemite Valley, in Sequoia groves, and above 9,600-feet elevation. (Note: Downed wood gathered in park areas outside the prohibited areas is allowed to be brought into the Valley as firewood.) Wood may also be available for sale by the park concessioner.(NPS)

For more information on invasive species check out the Yosemite Nature Science Forest Pests page.

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