A group of Girl Scouts and Friends Group volunteers stand around a recently dug hole at the park. There is a sapling on the left that is ready to be planted.

Restoring tree cover at Frontenac State Park

Emerald Ash Borer has devastated the tree canopy across Minnesota, and Frontenac State Park is no exception. Over the last few years, park staff have been forced to remove more than 250 ash trees from the area, with 30 more projected to be removed in 2023. The Frontenac State Park Association (FSPA), in coordination with state park staff, successfully applied for a habitat restoration grant from Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota in 2022 to purchase native tree saplings as replacements for the lost ash trees. This undertaking proved so successful that they applied for the same project again in 2023. Parks & Trails Council was glad to partner with the FSPA again this year, and awarded them $2,500 in grant funding to replicate the project.

On May 17th, the FSPA and the Girl Scouts of Troop 27492 met at the park campground to plant an assortment of 1-2” diameter tree saplings. Species planted by volunteers were sugar maple, swamp white oak, blue beech, and hackberry, for a total of 15 new trees. These native species, which are not susceptible to Emerald Ash Borer, will provide shade for park visitors, maintain the beauty of the campground, and provide valuable ecosystem services in the form of habitat and water retention. This project represented a close collaboration between the FSPA, state park staff, and the Girl Scouts, who had the opportunity to beautify their community and learn more about habitat restoration while they were at it. With any luck, the trees planted by the Frontenac State Park Association and their community partners will be able to enhance the experience of both human and animal visitors to the park for many years to come.

This project was part of P&TC’s Habitat Grant Program for our Friends Group Partners. In 2023 P&TC awarded four grants totaling $10,000.


Photo: Frontenac State Park Association