Hundreds of trees to be chopped down at Devil’s Lake State Park

Hundreds of trees have been marked with red paint around Devil’s Lake. All of them will be chopped down in the next few months, according to park supervisor Steve Schmelzer.

It’s part of a project that the town of Baraboo is working on, though town officials did not return calls to provide details about the project.

Schmelzer said all the trees marked in red are hazard trees because of the danger they pose to public safety. He said if the trees do not come down now, they will eventually fall into the roads and hurt people.

“We want to preserve as many of the trees as we can, but inevitably, you’re going to have a small percentage of the trees that either die, or as in the case of the emerald ash borer, come up with a disease that kills them,” he said.

The emerald ash borer has infected hundreds of trees at Devil’s Lake State Park. Schmelzer said people have expressed concern over the aesthetic impact of chopping down so many trees at Devil’s Lake. Schmelzer said not all the trees that are lining the roads will be chopped down.

“We’ve hand-selected these trees. It’s not like we’ve gone and said, ‘OK, every tree within the 32-foot right of way needs to come down.’ We’ve hand-selected these trees and tried to maintain as many as possible.”

Schmelzer said the town of Baraboo plans to line some of the roads and ditches with rocks. He added that there will be a timber sale with all of the firewood they make out of the chopped-down trees so that they can be put to good use this winter.

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