New York State’s wild forests are under threat by a tiny insect with the power to kill hemlock trees and harm drinking water for millions of people [because] erosion-prone slopes will be washed into New York City reservoirs. The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is currently a severe threat in the Castkills and has begun to make its way toward the Adirondacks. – ADK Executive Director, Neil Woodworth

New York has more hemlock trees than any other state in the nation. They are threatened by the continued expansion of an invasive insect pest, the hemlock woolly adelgid, or HWA. First found damaging hemlocks near Richmond, Virginia, in the mid-1950s, HWA has since spread from Georgia to Maine and has been causing widespread hemlock mortality.

In New York, HWA was first detected in the lower Hudson Valley in the late 1980s and has spread through the southern Catskills and Finger Lakes west to Letchworth and Allegany State Parks. Hemlock mortality has been dramatic in the Hudson Valley and is mounting in southern Catskill watersheds and the Finger Lakes.

HWA has recently reached the southern Mohawk Valley near Schenectady, but has yet to be found in the Adirondacks, where hemlock stands are iconic, representing almost ten percent of the forest. When HWA becomes established in the dense hemlock forests of the southern Adirondacks, it will be unstoppable.

To read the full article by Mark Whitmore pick up your January-February edition of the Adirondac. Members can view the magazine in their Members Area on the website. Non-members can purchase the magazine in our online shop.

You can help protect our Adirondack Hemlocks by attending an upcoming workshop on February 9th in Warrensburg, NY.