The park is under serious threat from invasive insects. The emerald ash borer (EAB) and hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) threaten to kill over a million trees in the park in the next 10-15 years.

Since 2018 SNP Trust has supported HWA soil treatments on hemlock trees and EAB treatments on ash trees. Approximately 5000 hemlocks and 180 ash trees have been treated. The goal of this project is to preserve a portion of the park’s eastern hemlocks for future restoration and to retain some ash trees for visitor enjoyment, reduce threats to visitors from hazard tree formation, and to preserve a portion of both trees until host-specific biological controls become available.

In the spring of 2021 SNP Trust will fund park biologists, working alongside Virginia Tech’s Hemlock Preservation Foundation, to purchase 500 predatory (biocontrol) beetles for release at a suitable hemlock site.

These projects will prevent the complete loss of ash and hemlock trees and forest and provide surveillance monitoring to improve future forest pest management response. The projects will mitigate ecological and aesthetic degradation of natural forest systems in treated areas, assuring that some park forests will continue to support the plants, animals, and opportunities integral to providing a rewarding visitor experience.

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