Shenandoah County continues its efforts to cut down dozens of ash trees from the main park in Maurertown.
County officials have said the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect species, infested and killed trees throughout the park. The trees must be removed from the park, but the county plans to replace them in the future.
Employees with the Shenandoah County Department of Parks and Recreation and laborers from the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail removed 30-40 trees before On the Rhodes Inc., of Toms Brook, took on the task, County Administrator Evan Vass said Tuesday.
On the Rhodes Inc. started removing ash trees in the park a few weeks ago. Joey Rhodes, president of the business, said by phone Tuesday he hopes his workers can finish the task by the end of February. Workers need to remove all ash trees in the park, he said.
County officials announced late last month that approximately 75 ash trees would be removed by mid-March. The Virginia Department of Forestry has been involved in the discussions for the planning of replacement trees, including the identification of appropriate species and locations.
“Well, the trees are dead and the tops are just blowing off in the storms and stuff, and it’s not safe to walk on the walks,” Rhodes said. “There’s a tremendous amount of people that use the park.
“I didn’t have a clue that the park had this many walkers ... and this is in February,” Rhodes added.
Wood from the trees won’t go to waste. The business is selling the wood at a discount price to churches that, in turn, will provide logs to people in the community who need the fuel for their homes, Rhodes said.