Hundreds of ash and walnut trees are being removed from Aquetong Spring Park in Solebury Township.
The Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive exotic beetle, and the Spotted Lantern Fly, an invasive planthopper, likely damaged the trees’ barks. The two invasive species are natives of Asia that have made their way in recent years to North America.
Trees in the park have been found to be either infected, damaged or already dead thanks to the pests, said Solebury Township Manager Dennis Carney.
The township is trying to make the park off Route 202 and Lower Mountain Road into “a pristine area,” complete with a cold water stream to support trout, for passive recreation, Dennis said.
“If there are dead or dying trees there it is not a pleasant area,” he said.
Crews began removing about 800 ash and walnut trees in April.
About 150 had been removed by mid-May, Dennis said.
The work had been slowed by inclement weather early on in the project, he said. The tree removal is expected to take about four months to complete and cost the township about $200,000.
Once all the damaged trees are gone, crews will plant about 200 other types of trees including maple, oak and cedar.
“They are all native trees to this area,” Dennis said.
The new trees will initially stand about three-feet-tall. Solebury will pay about $50,000 to plant the new trees, the manager said.
They will be planted alongside the hundreds of cedar, sycamore, oak and other types of trees in the park that are not been infected by the invasive species.