Letter from Rep. Danou: Enjoy the summer camping season in Western WisconsinWestern Wisconsin is a special place to be in the summer.
By: Rep. Chris Danou, Pierce County Herald
Western Wisconsin is a special place to be in the summer. My family and I always look forward to summertime camping trips. Some of our favorite time together while camping is spent around the fire cooking our dinner, making s’mores and telling stories.
I want to take an opportunity to remind campers of some rules to be mindful of as you make your plans to sit around the fire this summer. Firewood that looks clean may actually be hiding insects like the emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, or the tiny spores of a tree-killing fungus like oak wilt. In recent years, these insects and other tree-killing fungi have spread rapidly and are detrimental to our trees across Wisconsin. However, there are several simple things we can do to limit their presence and spread.
Instead of taking firewood along on your next camping trip or bringing some home with you from far away, be sure to get your firewood from where you’re going to use it. This cautious step makes sure the firewood was produced from trees harvested nearby.
If you are planning to bring wood with you, it must be from within Wisconsin and within 25 miles of the campsite, and from outside a quarantined area unless the property is also within a quarantine. It is probably easiest to consider buying your firewood from a Wisconsin certified dealer because that wood has been treated to eliminate pests and diseases and is allowed on state properties. You can find maps illustrating 25-mile radius from state campgrounds and a list of state-certified wood vendors on the Department of Natural Resources website, www.dnr.wi.gov.
Firewood restrictions also apply to full or partial pallets, skids or slabs. Dimensional lumber, such as 2x4 or 4x6 scraps from a building project will be allowed on state property upon the discretion of park staff. Most state parks offer quality firewood for sale from the park’s friends group at a reasonable price. Proceeds from firewood sales go back to the park’s budget and pay for buildings, educational programs, picnic shelters and needed equipment. Private sellers often have firewood for sale just outside of the park as well.
When buying firewood, make sure the pieces are dry and have either no bark or bark that is loose. This will reduce the threat of spreading diseases and your fire will be easier to start. Also, be sure to use all of your firewood and don’t leave any behind or take it with you. For firewood availability at your camping destination, please feel free to contact the park and they will be able to assist. A list of phone numbers for parks is available online at www.wiparks.net.
The state has invested resources and time into battling the spread of these pests and diseases, but you can make a big difference simply by complying with these necessary rules. By using wood from trees grown near a state park, you are helping to ensure the health of our forests – another essential to any good camping trip.