Asbury Woods is preparing to cut 82 dead and dying ash trees along the boardwalk on the west side of Asbury Road.
Hundreds of ash trees on the property have been infected with the emerald ash borer, an invasive bark beetle that was first introduced to the U.S. in 2002 and arrived in Pennsylvania by 2007.
“Active management of this threat to the forest and trail users is an essential part of what we do to balance our desire to nurture healthy forest ecosystems with the need to keep the property a safe place for visitors,” said Jennifer Farrar, executive director of Asbury Woods.
Trees infected with the emerald ash borer die nearly 100 percent of the time. Over the past several years, Asbury Woods has been monitoring ash trees as they have lost limbs and noticed a significant concentration of them dying near the boardwalk that runs through the James Preserve along the Greenway trail.
“Scientists are unsure of what the long-term impacts will be on our native forests as a result of this massive die-off of ash trees,” said Dr. Chris Dolanc, Professor of Biology at Mercyhurst University and an Asbury Woods board member. “Most of the medium to large-sized trees in the area are now dead or dying. As they die, they become a hazard to passing trail users and must be cut down to minimize danger.”
The tree work is expected to start the week of Nov. 1. A section of the Greenway Trail will be closed to the public for several days during the tree removal and any clean-up and repair needed before it can be safely reopened to the public.
Visitors who wish to access Walnut Creek will need to enter the trail system via the Browns Farm trailhead on Sterrettania Road. Trails on the east side of Asbury Road surrounding the Andrew J. Conner Nature Center will remain open. Click HERE for a map of the closed trail section and the latest updates on the tree work.
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