Why you shouldn't bring your own firewood to campgrounds

Q. We went camping this weekend and there was a sign at our campground saying that that we could not bring our own firewood. Is there a good reason for this, or is our campground just trying to gauge us on the price of wood?  -Henry, Vermont

A. You might be tempted to compare firewood bans to movie-theater prohibitions on bringing your own popcorn and Junior Mints (twelve dollar diet coke, anyone?), but actually, no one’s trying to screw you here. Your campground has a good reason for its “no foreign firewood” rule. Transporting wood can also transport invasive pests and diseases like the dreaded emerald ash borer or Asian longhorn beetle. These unappealing imports can then infest forests and decimate tree populations, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

And anyway, loading your car up with heavy cargo—logs being the perfect example—can cut fuel efficiency and end up costing you at the gas pump. In fact, claims that buying your wood onsite will actually save you money in the end, and they’ve even got a handy mileage-firewood calculator to prove it. So bring your own marshmallows, but leave the firewood at home.

-         Sarah Schmidt 

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