Disease, insect infested trees being removed from Potawatomi State Park

STURGEON BAY, Wis. -- Every ash tree and a number of beech trees in a 185 acre section of Potawatomi State Park will soon become firewood.

"The area that's being harvested is in the north end of the park, it goes include the campground and then a corridor around roads and trails in the north end of the park," says Erin Brown Stender, the Superintendent of the Potawatomi State Park.

An outbreak of two tree diseases--- Emerald Ash Borer and Beech Bark Disease--- pose a threat to the roughly 250,000 visitors who use the park each year.

"The reason we're doing this is really to cut down the dead trees, a standing dead tree does pose a safety risk," adds Brown Stender.

The vast majority of trees being removed are ash, due to the fairly quick spread of emerald ash borer in the park about four years ago.

However, due to many other trees calling the park home, park officials don't anticipate the landscape looking drastically different after all the ash and affected beech are removed.

They do say the process will take time, and they're asking all visitors to be careful.

"It will probably be on and off throughout the winter season, the harvest period or time period the logger can work goes until May 15th of this year, so definitely call ahead or watch for signs posted at the park," adds Brown Stender.

Logging operations are no stranger to state parks - in 2014, a similar operation happened at Whitefish Dunes.