Outreach in Conjunction with Campgrounds
The property and livelihood of campground owners is at risk from the introduction of tree-destroying pests; therefore, campgrounds are critical partners in educating the camping public about the source and pest risks of firewood. Campground policies should be clearly communicated in reservation and campground materials.
- Partner with federal, state, and private campgrounds on firewood messages. Campgrounds and campground owner associations are important partners for firewood outreach because they have multiple points of access to their campers and can target outreach to the camper’s preparation, decision, and go phases of planning. Campgrounds can provide outreach when making reservations, confirming registrations, on social media pages, during check-in, and monitoring activity during the stay.
- Make campgrounds comfortable with the outreach. Emphasize that firewood quarantines and regulations are not about the use of firewood, but about sourcing of firewood and protection of trees from invasive pests. Firewood sourcing options will vary between states and regions, but firewood from local vendors, gathered at or near the camping area, or that has been certified heat-treated, is considered safer from a pest perspective.
- Encourage campgrounds to have a consistent policy when firewood is brought to their property. Emphasize that campgrounds are not being asked to enforce state rules, but rather to educate campers to protect forests.
- Campgrounds can ask their guests if they have brought firewood to the campground. If the guest has, the campground could adopt a variety of strategies for addressing potential risks. The strategies can range from an outreach only policy to an enforcement policy. The campground should determine what approaches work best for them, how to communicate to guests in advance of their arrival, and how to apply consistently.
- Encourage campgrounds to think creatively. Campgrounds can have a significant impact on how likely campers are to transport firewood far beyond just the single visit. Finding a campground or association willing to try a firewood pilot program, or institute new rules, could encourage better firewood transportation behaviors across the state.
Reach the camper before the camper gets to the campground:
- Place information about firewood requirements on their website. This should include the Core Outreach Statement, state rules, campground rules, and whether or not firewood is available locally or at the campground. The information should be listed on the same page as the Campground Policies page (this name may vary), alongside other rules having to do with campfires, fire restrictions, and/or cooking.
- Place links to the Firewood Pathway webpage on their campground webpage.
- Place links to an on-line firewood directory on their campground webpage, as appropriate.
- Include information about firewood requirements (as above) in email messages sent to campers when they book their reservations alongside all other campground rules and regulations.
- Put reminders about firewood policies and availability of local or heat-treated firewood on social media posts.
Educate the camper upon arrival:
- Have signage about firewood near the check-in or entrance area.
- When feasible, ask if visitors have brought firewood with them to the campground. If firewood has been brought in violation of state or campground rules, inform visitors of the risks associated with firewood movement and follow campground policy about disposal of firewood. There can be several strategies for campgrounds:
- Outreach approach: Request that campers burn all of the wood they brought against policy ASAP, not to move the wood further, and not to bring firewood again.
- Regulatory approach: Confiscate and secure firewood. Consider offering a voucher, trade, or a discount on firewood for sale within the campground.
- Enforcement or Emergency approach: Contact enforcement personnel.
Reinforce education during their stay:
- Post signage indicating trees at risk from invasive pests transported in firewood in the campground.
- Consider hosting programs about invasive pest threats to trees, recognizing the signs and symptoms of invasive insects, and how to report suspect insects and/or damage.
Alternates to Selling Bundled Firewood:
Note that these methods all work best when clearly communicated before arrival via reservation and campground policy materials, so that campers understand firewood will be available to them.
- Incorporate the cost of supplying firewood into the cost of a campsite.
- Provide an area where campers can collect their own firewood from a bulk area for free or per voucher.
- Have a policy where firewood accompanied by a receipt from a local vendor is exempted from campground rules prohibiting outside firewood.
- Have an exemption for certified heat treated firewood if in its original unopened bundle.