One hundred and fifty years after the Third Battle of Winchester, there is a new invasion. The emerald ash borer has infested the stands of ash trees on the battlefield, now in the midst of restoration by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. The invasive species is also attacking ash trees in surrounding Frederick County. Concerned with the spread of the borer, the foundation has decided to immediately remove infested and healthy ashes.
The trees were not present during the battle and were slated to be removed as various parts of the battlefield are restored to its 1864 appearance, according to a press release. Foundation resource management specialist Dan Reinhart said salvageable wood will be used to build additional fencing and wood from healthy trees will be sold as lumber.
By moving forward now, the foundation has the opportunity to raise an estimated $20,000 from the sale of the lumber, Reinhart said. If it waits until all the ashes are infested, they will still have to be removed and any chance of selling lumber is lost.
The tree removal is expected to begin in January and be completed in about three months. During that period, some of the trails in the work area will be closed to visitors.