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Summit County: Forest health groups pow-wow in Frisco

Red, dead forests now prevail across much of Summit County, as government and industry officials try to make the most of the aftermath.

Groups will offer updates on statewide and regional forest health plans and strategies

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal and state agencies have developed an elaborate and sometimes overlapping bureaucratic superstructure and spent millions of dollars to try and deal with impacts of the tiny bark beetles that are chewing their way through the region’s forests and re-setting the ecosystem clock, as it were.

This week, three of the most prominent forest health organizations will be represented at the July 14 Summit Forest Health Task Force meeting in Frisco — the Colorado Bark Beetle Cooperative, TheFront Range Roundtable and the Governor’s Forest Health Advisory Council.

The three groups will provide an update on their activities at the meeting, scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Frisco Community Center at Third Avenue South and Granite Street in Frisco.

According to a release from the Forest Health task force, the gathering is intended to inform interested members of the community about the purposes and core constituencies of each group while encouraging public input on ways to promote and sustain healthy forests in Colorado.

The Colorado Bark Beetle Cooperative is a place-based collaborative designed to address the environmental, social and economic impacts of bark beetles on high altitude forests. The steering committee is comprised of federal, state, and local government representatives and representatives of utility and water providers, wood products industry, conservation and public interest groups. The CBBC’s focus area includes the counties of Eagle, Grand, Jackson, Pitkin and Summit. CBBC steering committee chair and Kremmling mayor Tom Clark will be its spokesman.

The Front Range Roundtable is a coalition of individuals from state and federal agencies, local governments, environmental and conservation organizations, the academic and scientific communities, and industry and user groups, all with a commitment to forest health and fire risk mitigation along Colorado’s Front Range. The Roundtable’s focus area encompasses ten Front Range counties: Boulder, Clear Creek, Douglas, El Paso, Gilpin, Grand, Jefferson, Larimer, Park and Teller. Facilitator Gali Beh will represent the roundtable.

Julie Shapiro, of the Keystone Center, will represent the Governor’s Forest Health Advisory Council, created in February 2008 by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter to coordinate and lead efforts that address threats to Colorado’s 24.4 million acres of forestland.

Key objectives of the state council include facilitating fire-resilient communities, restoring and maintaining forest health across the state, and ensuring consensus-oriented forest management that contributes to local economic sustainability, including private sector opportunities. The Council is comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders including representatives from state and federal agencies, local government, forestry collaboratives, non-governmental organizations, forest industry, water providers and the academic community.
All Forest Health Task Force events are free and open to the public.

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