Visitors to Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding this winter may see a lumberjack taking down ash trees. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says this is being done as a proactive approach to protect the forest area from destruction by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer.
More than 200 trees will be chopped down at Putnam Park, removed and then processed into lumber and firewood. DEEP Director of Forestry Chris Martin says the destructive insect has already been found in some nearby towns, including in Sherman and the Naugatuck Valley in 2013.
The Emerald Ash Border was first found in the United State sin the 1990s and destroyed the ash tree population in the midwest.
Martin says DEEP will allow the resulting open space to grow naturally over the next decade. During the tree removal process, some part of the park may be closed to protect visitors. Signs will be posted at the park entrance when the work will be done.
Martin says it's not wise to keep standing dead trees amongst where people will be recreating, so on occasion DEEP will preemptively remove trees at a minimal cost.
Martin says landowners who have ash trees and think they are being destroyed by this pest, should seek advice from a licensed arborist or professional forester certified through DEEP before cutting them down. When entering into contract, Martin urged homeowners to have assurances and documentation in place so expectations are met about what's being cut down and that it's done safely.