Explosives to knock over dead hemlocks in NC

By MIKE BAKER
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A years-long battle to save hemlocks in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina has some new weapons: duct tape, a helicopter, explosives and a fresh round of chemicals.

US Forest Service personnel are working this week in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in Graham County to remove about 150 dead hemlocks that threaten to fall on a popular trail. Officials say duct-taping explosives to the trees appears to be the safest way to knock them over and preserve a natural look in the forest.

Officials also are refocusing their efforts on trying to save what's left of the hemlock population decimated by an invasive bug. They plan to use a helicopter in the coming months to identify surviving hemlocks that could be treated with chemicals.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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