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May 272011

There's no more popular time of year to go camping than Memorial Day weekend.
If you're planning on hitting the great outdoors, make sure to bring the bug spray…and the right kind of firewood.
Some may assume the only danger of a campfire is the chance of a fire spreading.
But DNR officials say the firewood itself can carry pests that chew away at the forest.
Going camping is Paul Hazel's way…of getting away.
This weekend, Hazel's one of hundreds rolling into Lincoln State Park in Spencer County.
But before they set up camp, park officials have one question to ask: "Do you have any firewood?"
DNR rules say any firewood that comes through needs to have the bark removed…or come with a federal compliance stamp to get the ok.
The reason?
Unchecked firewood from the backyard can bring along pests like the emerald ash borer.
"It kills all the living part of the that tree and in about two years the tree is dead," says Lincoln State Park naturalist Michael Crews.
Crews says the park's enforced the rule for a few years.
But now the rule means keeping away countless other pests too…like the leaf-eating gypsy moth.
"Firewood, campfires…it's deep down into our souls," Crews says. "Everybody wants to go out and have a campfire and roast marshmallows and stuff. And we want that to happen. We just have to be sure we're conserving our resources and how we use those resources."
For Hazel, it's more important to take care of the trees.
"We respect the DNR, we respect our forest. I think we ned to be cognizant of that and not bring any bad things into the forest, into the campground."
DNR rules also require campers to burn all that firewood before leaving the site.
By federal law, campers from out of state cannot bring firewood from home at all.
Again, these rules only apply to campers headed for state parks.