ALBANY - The State Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting public comment on its plan to build firewood storage buildings and sell firewood at several DEC campgrounds in the Adirondacks and Catskills.
The proposal is part of an ongoing effort to prevent the spread of firewood that could be carrying invasive bugs like the Asian long-horned beetle and emerald ash borer.
Two years ago, DEC implemented an emergency regulation that limits the transport of untreated firewood statewide to less than 50 miles from its source. The temporary regulation became permanent in the summer of 2009.
In an April presentation to state Adirondack Park Agency Commissioners, DEC Assistant Operations Director Tom Folts said the agency has been working with roadside vendors and stores that sell firewood near its campgrounds to ensure their wood is locally sourced. If it is, DEC provides the vendor with a sticker to place on the firewood, so campground staff know it has been purchased locally.
However, Folts said there aren't enough private firewood vendors in some areas of the Adirondacks and Catskills, which is why DEC wants to sell firewood and build small firewood storage facilities at seven of its campgrounds in the Adirondacks, primarily in the Indian Lake and Northville area, and two in the Catskills.
Folts said in April that it would cost the DEC about $123,000 to buy treated firewood, build the storage facilities and purchase trailers to transport firewood that's been confiscated.
DEC has proposed an amendment to the 1990 Generic Unit Management Plan for Campgrounds and Day Use Areas that will allow for the construction of the Adirondack-style firewood storage buildings.
"The storage building will give the department the ability to provide firewood to campers and day use visitors," reads a DEC public notice on the amendment. "The purpose is to provide a source of safe firewood that will not serve as a potential vector for the spread of invasive pests in the Adirondacks and Catskills."
Public comments on the proposed amendment, which are being accepted until Sept. 22, can be sent to Douglas E. Bernhard, General Manager of Forest Parks, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12333-5253. Comments and also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or email@example.com.