Public invited to plant trees in Ft. Yargo

WINDER - Between the deer, pine beetles and tornadoes, Ft. Yargo State Park is running low on trees.

Park officials need volunteers to help plant 500 trees Saturday for the annual "Weathering the Storm" Arbor Day celebration.

Those trees will replace some of the more than 7,000 trees destroyed in 2005, when a tornado spun off by Hurricane Katrina ripped through the park. But it was an outbreak of pine beetles in the early 1990s that started the tree planting project.

Georgia state funds paid $475 for this year's 2- to 3-foot-tall seedlings that include Georgia and sawtooth oaks, Virginia pines, bald cypresses, green ash, catalpa worm trees and wax myrtles. The trees will help stop soil erosion that started after the tornado hit.

"We will let some areas grow in naturally," said Artie Doughty, senior park ranger. "We could use briars for small game and deer."

The tree planting event, which is open to the public, usually draws about 90 volunteers.

n What: Ft. Yargo tree planting Arbor Day celebration

•Where: Ft. Yargo State Park, 210 S. Broad St. (Ga. Highway 81), Winder

•When: 9 a.m. Saturday

•Cost: Free, but bring your own tools. Park pass fee is waived for volunteers