Zombies seem to be everywhere you look - movies, TV shows, street events. They have taken over pop culture. But a bigger threat is here and now and lurks where you might least expect it. The good news is you don't need special zombie killing bullets to deal with this threat.
The threat - the destruction of our trees and forests
The solution - DON'T MOVE FIREWOOD
This poster deals with the Emerald Ash Borer. Smaller than a penny, this creature is making its way across the state devastating the population of Ash trees. When we first became involved in the campaign, we were still hoping we could stop the pest before it got to Virginia. You may have seen the purple hanging "lanterns" in forests throughout the state (see next picture). These are emerald ash borer traps and they are monitored to see when areas became infested. First most of northern Virginia became quarantined. This meant it became illegal to move firewood into or out of the infected area. Now more areas of the state are being added to the quarantine list.
Emerald Ash Borer Trap
But the Emerald Ash Borer is by far not the only "zombie" we have to worry about. Many may have heard about the gypsy moth. It has been a pest in Virginia for some time. It can be spread over great distances when it lays its eggs on firewood and the wood is then moved to non-infected areas. Other newly introduced pests include the Asian longhorned beetle and Sirex woodwasp. All are wood-infesting species like the Emerald Ash Borer that hide in wood and can infest new areas when wood is moved from one location to another. The American Elm and the American Chestnuts are examples of trees that have been decimated by diseases also transported in firewood. Oakwilt and other diseases can be spread by transporting firewood.
So much of the camping experience is sitting around the campfire with your family and friends. We don't want you to skip the campfire, just don't bring the firewood with you. I remember when we first started asking customers not to bring firewood to our parks many suspected it was a ply for us to make more money selling firewood. I can assure you that it is not a high profit item for us. In fact, many of our parks use volunteers or staff to chop and bundle firewood for sale or we buy it from a third party. If you have your own wood pile in your back yard, I can understand the temptation to bring your own firewood but how much fun will a camping trip be if there are no trees? And the threat is not just our park but trees all along your route.
In addition to the video above, the Don't Move Firewood website has some great videos that tell the story about the threat in a humorous and non technical way. This is one of my favorites: