TREES NEED THEIR SKIN, TOO!

Campers! Help Protect Trees In Your Campground From Injury

Ax and knife wounds are the most
common type of injury. Misuse of
these tools severely injures trees.

Help keep recreation areas safe and beautiful - for your own enjoyment, and that of other people. Consider before - not after it's too late - the damage that may result from misuse of knives, hatchets, and other camping equipment. Here are some examples of damage that campers can prevent.

Tree wounds are unsightly and frequently do not heal. Wood that is exposed when bark is injured or removed is attacked by decay fungi and insects. Larger wounds then develop and the tree may become unsafe. Loss of these trees diminishes the enjoyment of the natural environment. Replacing them is costly.

lantern hanging on tree rope/cord around tree
Unknowingly, many people harm trees
by hanging lanterns on them. Heat from
the lanterns kills the adjacent bark.
Hang your clothes, leave the wire, and
you may eventually hang the tree. Many
types of rope or cord will also girdle trees.

Your car, camper van or trailer may have
outgrown the parking pad. Be careful not
to hit trees while backing in; neither the
trees nor the vehicle were built for it.
Some areas are not suitable for heavy foot
traffic or vehicles. Overuse of such areas will
severely compact and erode the soil. As a
result, roots suffer from exposure above ground
and a lack of water and air below ground.
Breaking firewood across a tree trunk can
bruise and kill the bark.
Trees need their skin, too! Even
though trees regularly discard old
bark, premature removal will kill them.

YOU CAN HELP!

  1. Cut firewood on a chopping block rather than a tree trunk or exposed roots.
  2. Hang lanterns on posts, when provided; otherwise set them on the ground or on a table. You can also suspend them from one of the special brackets now available.
  3. Remove all wires and ropes when you break camp.
  4. Take care not to injure trees while maneuvering vehicles.
  5. Avoid exposed roots where possible. Park and ride motor vehicles only on authorized roads and trails.
  6. Do not remove bark - even loose bark - from trees.

LESS COMMON INJURIES

You may spend only a few days in parks and campgrounds, but other visitors precede or follow you to the same spot. This procession begins in early spring and continues into late autumn. This is the season when trees are most sensitive to the kinds of injuries described in this leaflet. This is also the period when harmful insects and disease organisms are most active. Tree wounds are an open invitation to these pests.

Maintenance costs are high and demand a high proportion of recreation funds. Fewer tree injuries mean fewer hazardous trees must be treated or removed. As a result, more money will be available for development of new facilities for your enjoyment.

USDA FOREST SERVICE
STATE & PRIVATE FORESTRY

Northeastern Area and Southeastern Area