DOOR COUNTY - Parts of a popular park in Door County are closed while crews remove thousands of diseased trees.
Wood chips are flying at Whitefish Dunes State Park. For the past week, crews have been thinning out thousands of beech trees in the park.
"We first documented beech bark disease in 2012 in this park here. And in that short amount of time, it has blown up to an area of over 40 acres," said Chris Plzak, DNR forester.
Plzak says tiny scale insects rob the beech of sap. The trees can develop a fungus before dying.
"This is a log that is heavily infested with beech scale. So if you look closely, you're going to see trees that are completely whitewashed," said Plzak.
Plzak says many of the trees are 75-100 years old and will likely be dead in three years.
He says about 7 percent of the park is infested.
Crews cleared a 75-foot-wide area along two miles of hiking trails.
The park manager says trees can become brittle and branches can snap.
"We're trying to mitigate the safety component within the trail system here on the property. By creating these corridors along the trail system, we will be assisting in that," said Fred Viste, Whitefish Dunes State Park manager.
Improvements were made along the road to the park. The Door County Highway Department cleared trees and brush on County Highway WD.
Foresters say The Algoma Lumber Company bid around $10,000 to remove the trees. Crews expect to move three to four truckloads of wood each day.
The work should be complete in this part of the park in about a week to ten days.
This is just the first phase of the project. Near the end of the month, crews plan to thin out trees in the eastern part of the park as well.