The southern pine beetle has invaded Fort McAllister, according to a press release issued Friday by the park.
Delete-Merge UpAbout two acres of pine trees have been infested by the beetles and will be removed, according to park ranger Shirley Rowe. It was unclear Friday when the trees would be removed or how much the cost will be.
Here's the press release:
"Due to a recently discovered infestation of Pine Beetles in state park property, a large area of pine trees must be removed. This will have an impact on access to the Redbird Creek Trail. There will be days where hikers will not be allowed to use the trail due to safety concerns. No date has been set for the tree removal at this point, but it will be within the next few weeks. We are working closely with Georgia DNR and Forestry and hope to have this completed as soon as possible."
The beetles attack pine trees stressed by drought, disease, too much rain or overcrowding. They have caused infestations in other areas in Coastal Georgia as well. It's unclear how many acres in Bryan County have been impacted, but forestry officials say the infestations occur in cycles roughly every 8-12 years.
The best way to prevent damage is to remove not only the damaged trees, but create a buffer aroud them to keep the insects from spreading.