Summit County: Forest Health Task Force partners with outdoor group to raise awareness of bark beetle impacts

May 12 meeting to focus on the role of outdoor industry and local service groups

Hikers are stakeholders in the forest health discussion. PHOTO BY DYLAN BERWYN.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — As a slow-moving ecological event, the bark beetle epidemic coursing through the Rocky Mountains has garnered plenty of attention from scientists and forest rangers, but has remained a bit under the radar of national publicity. But that may change, as a coalition of outdoor recreation interests works to increase national awareness.

Those efforts will be discussed at the May 12 meeting of the Summit Forest Health Task Force (7:30 – 9 a.m. at the Frisco Community Center, 3d Street).

Choose Outdoors is working in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and businesses and organizations committed to being proactive in addressing the mountain pine beetle issue. Early supporters include the White River National Forest, BrandWise, Colorado State University, Brookfield Residential Properties, and New Earth Pellets.

Last spring, Choose Outdoors responded to a request by Undersecretary of Agriculture Harris Sherman to consider ways to increase public awareness about the impacts the mountain pine beetle epidemic has made on forest health as well as to encourage private sector engagement in promoting the use of beetle killed wood.

The agenda will also include news from the Keystone Science School, SOS Outreach and the Colorado Bark Beetle Cooperative. The meeting is open to the public and the task force is looking for input on how best to frame the campaign and deliver the message to current and future stakeholders.

For more info, contact: Bruce Ward, Choose Outdoors,  www.chooseoutdoors.org. Tel. 303-917-1476; email bruceward1@gmail.com.

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