A pilot program in its first year at Big Creek State Park near Des Moines is using black locust trees to build wooden chairs.
Department of Natural Resources Park Manager Chad Kelchen says the trees are considered an invasive species so it’s a bonus to be able to make use of them in a worthwhile fashion.
"It’s not the furniture component I’m after, I’m after the whole end user, that’s the ultimate goal," he said. “I’m tired of just piling the stuff and burning it, somebody’s got have a use for it.”
So far, two volunteer groups have participated in constructing three log chairs through 40 hours of in-kind service. The chairs will not be sold. Instead, they will go to some cabins at Springbrook State Park about an hour west of Des Moines.