Visitors traveling along Route 28 enroute northward to the Old Forge area have noted a change to the message on the sign placed under the railroad bridge by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC.)
The message, which previously warned visitors not to feed big game, now informs folks that a permit is required for transport of firewood.
The change is the result of the DEC’s mission to raise awareness about the dangers of trans-locating invasive insects into the Adirondack Park.
According to Town of Webb Supervisor Ted Riehle, the sign will be changed periodically throughout the summer to bring attention to various issues such as firewood and the dangers of feeding bear and deer.
In New York state it is illegal to transport firewood more than fifty miles.
The measure is in accordance with ECL Part 192.5, Firewood Restrictions to Protect Forests from Invasive Species regulation that was put in place on March 18, 2009 and updated on July 3, 2012.
According to the regulation, producers, buyers, and dealers are required to have source documentation that explains that the firewood was either heat-treated and kiln-dried, or if firewood has not been treated, documentation that outlines the exact origin of the wood as well as it’s destination and approximate volume.
Those purchasing firewood along the side of the road are required to have a self-issued Certificate of Origin which can be found on the DEC website.
Stephen Litwhiler, DEC Regional Citizen Participation Specialist for Region 6, said producers and dealers should be prepared with forms to provide to buyers.
However, those who cut and transport their own firewood should provide their own certificates.
This regulation is the result of a preventative measure to slow the spread of invasive insects such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorn beetle through the transportation of firewood.
“Fortunately, we haven’t detected any ash borer in the Adirondack area. But what happens is that someone has a diseased tree in their yard and they live in Syracuse or New York City, and they say, ‘I’m going to chop it up and take it to camp this summer.’ But why did the tree die to begin with?” he said.
Litwhiler said, while the bugs will naturally spread, the problem is expedited when firewood is trans-located long distances. The DEC hopes to slow the spread through this regulation.
Litwhiler added that residents and visitors may experience firewood checkpoints on Route 28 throughout the summer.
Those found to be in violation of the regulation will be subjected to a fine and wood from quarantined areas will be confiscated.
Certificates of Origin can be found online in pdf format at dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/selfisscert.pdf.