Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the highest point in Tennessee. © Jason Weiss/Submission to 2018 TNC Photo Contest

Stories in Tennessee

Protect Our Smoky Mountain Forests

The lush mountain forests of the Smoky Mountains are threatened. Devastating tree pests can enter the park through infested firewood.

  • The majestic forests of Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains are at risk.
  • Foreign insect pests and diseases threaten to kill hundreds of thousands of trees.
  • You can help in two big ways.
  • #1 - Don't bring firewood from home. Buy certified, heat-treated, or locally sourced firewood.
  • #2 - Encourage family and friends to do the same.
Smoky Mountain forests 200x125
© Byron Jorjorian

Did you know that transporting firewood puts forests in danger?

Tennessee is a place of incredible beauty and priceless natural heritage. Tennessee has 56 state parks as well as the most visited national park in the nation, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

But all of our beautiful forests are at risk from invasive tree pests and diseases that could be unwittingly transported on infested firewood. More than 30 tree species are now at risk from new pests.

The Nature Conservancy is now working in Tennessee with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park staff and state partner agencies to inform the public about safe firewood practices that can protect our forests for future generations.

The National Park Service has announced that as of 2015 only heat-treated firewood that is bundled and displays a certification stamp by the USDA or a state department of agriculture will be allowed for use in the campgrounds of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Campers may also collect dead and down wood within the park for campfires.

What are The Nature Conservancy and other partners doing to help Tennessee's forests?

The Nature Conservancy brings national expertise in modern firewood policies and practices. That's why the National Park Service asked us to help them protect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

First, we are making it easier for campers to purchase heat-treated firewood in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Meanwhile, we are also working with other park managers across the state to improve their firewood practices. In addition, we are helping people understand how they can play a pivotal role in conserving our beautiful parks and forests by adopting safe firewood practices.

Here's how you can help:

  • Make the switch to heat-treated firewood. Stores at each of the major campgrounds in the Smokies already have heat-treated firewood for sale. To find other locations near Smokies campgrounds that sell heat-treated firewood click this link for a map of heat-treated firewood vendors in the Smoky Mountains.
  • Learn about the threat. Visit the Don't Move Firewood website for a wealth of information, including state-by-state updates on pest quarantines and threats, videos, insect identification, and ways you can help stop the spread of these and other destructive pests.

The Nature Conservancy is working for a healthy Tennessee