Gypsy moth quarantine balance found

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Cook County Commissioners, Howard Hedstrom of Hedstrom Lumber provided an update on the planned gypsy moth quarantine and its impact on the wood products industry in Cook County.

On the whole, Hedstrom offered positive news and described an agreement being negotiated through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

As originally proposed, the quarantine, which will govern the transport, storage and utilization of wood in the mill yard, would have severely restricted marketability of forest products out of Cook County.

Accommodations are also being made for wood products coming out of Cook and Lake Counties which move to areas not under quarantine. These products will have to be transported by loggers or shippers who have a compliance agreement in place with the Animal, Plant and Health Inspection Service. Obtaining that compliance agreement will require training which will likely be incorporated into existing programs of logger education.

In Hedstrom’s view, the quarantine has the potential to negatively impact tourism through fear induced by the term “quarantine”. In an effort to offset this, a program of public education designed to elevate the public’s understanding of the gypsy moth problem is planned.

Hedstrom also discussed the impact of the quarantine on his mill’s production of bark for use as landscaping mulch. Investigations conducted by the mill suggest that viable gypsy moth egg cases do not survive grinding and processing of the bark. If studies conducted by Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirm this, marketing of the bark in the Twin Cities area should be able to proceed as normal. Hedstrom Mill is assisting the state in this effort as a test site.