The U.S. Forest Service has cleared beetle-killed trees from the Old Dillon Reservoir trailhead parking area, but trails just a few yards from the parking lot are still surrounded by dead trees that could fall over at any moment. How far can the agency go to reduce the danger to hikers? PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.
Regional forester Rick Cables acknowledges concerns, but says $30 million cash infusion will enable the agency to maintain funding and staff for wilderness, recreation and wildlife programs at existing levels
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — A big push by the U.S. Forest Service to try and clear a sea of beetle-killed trees from campgrounds, trail heads and other developed sites could have unintended consequences for the agency and the public lands it manages.
Some local public land stewardship and advocacy groups are concerned that focus on hazard trees could divert resources from other programs that are already short of funds and staff, including wilderness and recreation management.
“My personal opinion is that it’s going to affect other areas, maybe to the point where the visitor experience is affected,” said Currie Craven, who serves on the boards of the Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness and the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District.
For now, the Forest Service can’t say exactly how the shift in priorities will affect other programs. But regional forester Rick Cables is hopeful the agency will be able to deliver services on level comparable to the past few years. Get more information at the Forest Service bark beetle web site and see the end of this post, where the agency’s 2007-20011 bark beetle plan is posted in a Scribd.com window.
“The good news is, we got $30 million more as a region,” Cables said, acknowledging that, prior to last year’s allocation of extra funds, the Forest Service had been looking at a “drastic re-allocation” of resources to address the public health and safety issues posed by beetle-killed trees.
Filed under: Environment, federal government, Forest health, pine beetles and wildfires, public lands, recreation, Summit County Colorado, US Forest Service | Tagged: Forest health, Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, Forest Service Region 2, hazard trees, pine beetles, Rick Cables, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, U.S. Forest Service, White River National Forest | 2 Comments »