General Butler to harvest 1,800 ash trees
Winter harvest intended to curb infestation of emerald ash borer
Friday, December 06, 2013 10:00 AM
Nearly 1,800 trees will be harvested this winter from General Butler State Resort Park in Carrollton to curb an infestation of insects from Asia that kills ash trees.
The Kentucky Department of Parks decided to permit a limited harvest of ash trees at General Butler because of the emerald ash borer insect, parks spokesman Gil Lawson said. The state parks department worked with the Kentucky Division of Forestry to evaluate and identify ash trees for the tree harvest project, which began last week.
"(General Butler) has a large percentage of ash trees," Lawson said. "We noticed the insect was found in the park earlier this summer."
Officials plan for the harvest to take place during the winter months when fewer guests visit the park.
Several ash trees at General Butler have become infested with the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect species from Asia that was first discovered in the United States in 2002, a parks release said. The insect larva lives under the bark of ash trees and feeds on the tree's water and nutrients, eventually causing the tree to die.
Smaller trees can die within one to two years, while larger trees die within three to four years, the release said.
The insect was first found in Kentucky in 2009 and has been found in 28 counties throughout the state, mostly in the north-central counties.
"It has slowly spread," Lawson said of the insect. The emerald ash borer has been found throughout forested areas between Cincinnati and Louisville, including Carroll County.
Because of the number of ash trees at General Butler, the park system couldn't afford to treat all of the trees. The state park system also considered doing nothing, but the large number of dead trees would be a public safety concern.
Proceeds from the tree harvest - which is expected to be nearly $50,000 - will be used to plant new oak, maple and other varieties of trees at General Butler. Some of the proceeds also will be used to pay for treating some of the existing ash trees at the park with insecticide in the spring, Lawson said.
A bid for tree harvesting was awarded to Atwood Lumber and Mats of Carrollton.
Crews will harvest trees throughout different forested areas of the park, Lawson said, but work isn't expected to take place near the Butler Lodge or the park's golf course.
The work also may resume during the winter of 2014-2015 depending on this year's weather conditions.
The Kentucky Department of Transportation have asked motorists in the area to beware of logging trucks in the area of General Butler and on KY 227.
Trucks will be entering and leaving the park through the campground entrance on KY 227, a release said. The increased traffic is expected to be on the roadway until the end of March 2014.
Some of the park's trails will be temporarily closed for safety reasons as crews cut the trees. Lawson encouraged hikers to check with the front desk at the Butler Lodge to see which trails are closed during the harvest..
The park will remain open during the winter and the tree harvest.