Private Campgrounds vs National Parks?

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

My family and I are coming up in June to camp at the Jellystone Park in Gattlinburg TN and I was told by the campground I could not bring firewood. I live in Gwinnett county GA and I did not see it on the restriction list, I only saw Dekalb and Fulton county on the list for GA. I was wanting to know if I could bring my own firewood, it is oak wood. (edited for length)

Thanks, Camper from Georgia

Dear Camper,

Whenever you are visiting a privately owned campground, it is important to remember that they can set their own firewood rules- including stating that you cannot bring any firewood onto their property. I looked up that particular Jellystone park, and it indeed on private land, which means their management can regulate the movement of firewood onto their land in any way they see fit. Even though it is not illegal according to state law nor national park regulation (Great Smoky Mountains Firewood Alert) to bring oak firewood from that county in Georgia into the region near this campground, the Jellystone staff are within their rights to prohibit it as a private business. Now, if you were camping in the National Park itself, it would be considered legal to bring oak firewood from Gwinnett- but that brings us to the next point…

You would be moving this firewood really far- probably well over 150 miles, and that’s a lot farther than what is generally acceptable. It might not be against the law, but it isn’t a good idea. So please, leave that firewood at home, and buy some when you arrive at or near your destination.

Thanks for asking, and enjoy your trip in June!


Curious about the states mentioned in this blog? Visit our Georgia or Tennessee pages! Or head on over the National Park Service’s Great Smoky Mountains Firewood Alert page.




Thinking Spring!

Here are Don't Move Firewood, we are gearing up for the annual spring rush of website traffic from the millions of people that will be planning their spring and summer vacations. Here's what we are up to:


  • We've been subtly changing our front page messaging to work with some new research out of the Southern States Wildland Urban Interface project. This helps people find the information they really want- faster!
  • The 100 words project is in full swing, with a dozen state summaries now approved by our in-state colleagues. If we haven't gotten to your state yet, we will soon.
  • Our resident pest expert, Faith Campbell, has been busy updating the pest information over at the Gallery of Pests. This large resource of pest information is outstanding for anyone seeking in depth histories and details on invasive forest pests.
  • Coming soon: our State-by-State map is going to get easier to use (one fewer click for visitors!). This sounds like a minor change but it should greatly improve useability for our visitors from certain types of smartphones, and those on older browsers and computers.



Look for signs of invasive forest pests during Great Backyard Bird Count 2014

NEWS RELEASE — For Immediate Release

Contact: Leigh Greenwood, Don’t Move Firewood campaign manager

Download PDF version of this press release at


 Looking for signs of insect or disease damage in backyard trees and shrubs during the annual bird count can help preserve vital wildlife habitats.

Arlington, VA—February 7, 2014— Bird watchers participating in the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, February 14 to 17 2014, are encouraged by The Nature Conservancy to look for and report signs of tree pests like the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, and other invasive insects and diseases. During the bird count, participants simply watch birds at any location for at least 15 minutes, tally the numbers of each species they see, and report their tallies online. Scientists at The Nature Conservancy want Great Backyard Bird Count participants to know that they should take a few extra moments to look at the birds’ habitats for signs of invasive forest insects and diseases.

“Trees and forests are an essential part of our lives, and they provide clean air and water, jobs and products, and vital wildlife habitat.  From tree-lined neighborhood streets to national parks, we count on trees to provide benefits today and for generations to come,” says Bill Toomey, Director of Forest Health Protection for The Nature Conservancy. “That’s why it’s critical for everyone to be aware of the trees around them and take simple actions to help protect them- such as looking for and reporting signs of insects or diseases.”

Many of the forest pests and diseases that affect trees can be stopped or slowed if they are found and treated early enough by the proper authorities. The Nature Conservancy’s Healthy Cities, Healthy Trees program and Don’t Move Firewood campaign, along with many state and federal agencies nationwide, are especially encouraging bird watchers to look for potential signs of forest pests while enjoying the Great Backyard Bird Count this year.

“The Great Backyard Bird Count is an ideal opportunity for bird watchers to check the trees for signs of invasive pests like Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer,” said Jennifer Forman Orth, State Plant Pest Survey Coordinator at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. “The damage from these insects can easily be seen in winter, when there are no leaves on the trees, and birdwatchers are typically armed with a pair of binoculars that will help them check high-up branches for the perfectly round holes left by Asian longhorned beetles in maples and other hardwoods, or the increased woodpecker activity and removal of bark (“blonding”) caused by excessive woodpecker activity associated with emerald ash borer infestations in ash trees.”

Birdwatchers can download the new Birdwatcher’s Short Field Guide to Holes in Trees, found at  to help them learn the differences between holes made by typical woodpecker and sapsucker foraging, holes made by woodpeckers seeking invasive insect larvae, and holes caused by the invasive insects themselves.

Participants in the Great Backyard Bird Count should report any suspicious damage or signs of forest pests as soon as they have concluded entering their bird data. Bird watchers are encouraged to take digital photos of any damage observed, identify the species of tree with the damage if possible, and then report findings using websites, state hotlines, or phone apps such as those found at .

For more information on regionally and nationally important invasive forest pests, and how to report potential signs of infestation, please refer to the websites below.


Download PDF version of Holes in Trees

Download PDF version of this press release at


To learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities program go to . To learn more about Don’t Move Firewood, visit .


The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 18 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 117 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit us on the Web at


100 words project

Have you ever tried to look up your state’s firewood regulations on our map and thought to yourself, “Wow, I’m still not really sure what I’m allowed to do here.” We here at Don’t Move Firewood understand. A lot of state and federal firewood regulations are written in technical language, or so buried in a lengthy webpage that you can’t really find them. Our new solution: the 100 words project.

Each state will have a summary written in 100 words or less, in plain English, of their firewood regulations- for everything in the state. This will include state regulations, federal regulations, and those that pertain to all sorts of specific parks and forests. We started in the farthest Eastern US in Maine, and we’re working our way out from there. So far we’ve written fifteen summaries and gotten formal approval from state officials from four of those states- almost 10%! Off to a good start.

Hopefully this will prove to be a useful resource to all our visitors. Thanks for reading. You can view the Firewood Map here.