Parts of the White River National Forest were approved for expedited insect and disease treatments last week.
Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday, May 20, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s approval of designated areas recommended by Gov. John Hickenlooper.
In Colorado, more than 9.6 million acres in the Arapaho-Roosevelt, Grand Mesa, Gunnison, Pike, Rio-Grande, Routt, San Juan and White River national forests will receive the expedited Forest Service treatment. That’s about 21 percent of the 45 million acres designated nationally.
The new authority stems from the National Forest Insect and Disease Treatment Act, a bill introduced by Sen. Michael Bennet last year and cosponsored by Sen. Mark Udall. It was signed into law earlier this year as part of the Farm Bill.
In Summit County, a group called the Forest Health Task Force hosts public meetings regularly to bring together stakeholders, discuss local forest issues and create collaborative forest management strategies for future projects.
At the next task force meeting Thursday, May 29, the public is invited to explore a shared forest vision with Forest Service officials and other community members. For more information, visit summitpinebeetle.org.