PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Agriculture Department kicked off a program Monday that asks people to pledge they won’t move untreated firewood.
The state Game, Fish and Parks Department is an ally in the effort. The goal is to slow the spread of emerald ash borers and other invasive species.
The deadly beetles from Asia were confirmed in Sioux Falls last year. The South Dakota GFP Commission subsequently imposed restrictions on firewood in state parks and recreation areas.
Many South Dakota communities have started discussing and in some instances proceeding with removing ash trees. The scourge has been spreading gradually since first noticed in the Detroit area in 2002.
In South Dakota, people can commit to the “don’t move firewood” pledge at https://sdda.sd.gov/Firewood/Pledge.aspx. Those signing up before midnight CT June 30 will be eligible to win a camping tent, sleeping bags and outdoor cooking gear.
The link takes readers to a page that includes this statement:
“By signing this pledge, I promise not to move untreated firewood into or within South Dakota. I promise to buy or collect firewood where I plan to burn it or buy certified heat-treated firewood. I also understand that by taking this pledge, my name and county will be published on the South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s website with all others who have taken the pledge.”
It’s open to persons who are at least age 18. There are other restrictions, such as employees of the two departments can’t apply for the drawing.
State Agriculture Secretary Kim Vanneman issued this statement to KELOLAND:
“We have been working hard to develop this pledge with the Department of Game, Fish, and Parks because studies show when people make a small commitment, like taking a pledge, they are more likely to change a larger behavior, like not moving firewood.
“Trees are an extremely important part of our communities, farms, and ranches and we at the Department of Agriculture want to do everything in our power to protect our trees across the state,” she said. “Therefore, we urge every South Dakotan to join us and take the pledge to not move untreated firewood.”