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Insect Threat To Hemlock Trees Discovered In Western Pa. State Parks

"We have seen 74 sites and 11,000 trees treated in 21 counties in recent years through the continued cooperative effort among our bureaus of forestry, state parks and others," Allan said.

DCNR is partnering with the USDA Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy and other interested organizations to develop an Eastern hemlock management plan for northwestern Pennsylvania.  In addition, its Bureau of Forestry is drafting a hemlock conservation plan for Pennsylvania.

The Cook Forest State Park infestation area is home to some of the Eastern United States' tallest hemlocks, including the celebrated Seneca Hemlock, the area's third-tallest at 147 feet and 4 feet in diameter. Although not yet known to be infested, other old-growth stands at Cook Forest, including the "Forest Cathedral,'' are in danger due to the close proximity to this area.

The woolly adelgid is a fluid-feeding insect, easily detected by telltale egg sacs resembling cotton swabs that cling to undersides of hemlock branches. Introduced into the United States from Asia, it first was discovered in southeastern Pennsylvania in 1969 and steadily has been spreading westward. It now is found in 56 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties.

Homeowners and other private property owners can learn more about the woolly adelgid, damage it causes, and efforts to combat it at www.dcnr.state.pa.us (click on "Forestry," then "Insects and Disease" at upper left).

The Pennsylvania Parks & Forestry Foundation is accepting contributions to be used to combat the insect at Cook Forest and Clear Creek state parks. Donation checks, payable to Pennsylvania Parks & Forestry Foundation, or PPFF, can be sent to Cook Forest State Park, ATTN: HWA Fund, P.O. Box 120, Cooksburg, Pa., 16217.

For details on Cook Forest, Clear Creek and Pennsylvania's other 118 state parks, call 1-888-PA-PARKS between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; or visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (select "Find a Park").

Media contact: Terry Brady, (717) 772-9104



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