Breckenridge: The broad picture of bark beetles |

Breckenridge: The broad picture of bark beetles

Janice Kurbjun
summit daily news

On Friday, the Colorado Bark Beetle Cooperative – a coalition of officials from agencies, organizations, educational institutions and more who are working to address the ecology of lodgepole pine forests and their future – will meet at Colorado Mountain College’s Breckenridge campus.

The “Future Forests Summit” is slated for 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to the public.

It’s hosted by the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, a voluntary coalition of representatives from Jackson, Grand, Summit, Eagle and Pitkin counties. The cooperative also incorporates Garfield, Lake, Park and Routt counties.

“What this organization brings to the table is a credibility and a representation of a wide geographical range in the nine-county area,” said Howard Hallman, a co-director of the Forest Health Task Force and president of The Greenlands Reserve Land Trust, who plans to attend the meeting.

Science panelists include Dan Tinker, an associate professor in the Department of Botany and Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming and Claudia Regan, a Forest Service regional vegetation ecologist for the Rocky Mountain Region.

“Forest health and resource management is not as simple as it appears to be on the surface. What (Regan) brings to the table is a nuanced point of view that’s based on real science,” Hallman said. The task force hosted Regan at a recent meeting. Hallman added that the answers behind why the forest is doing what it currently is are complex. It’s not certain the exact causes and effects, but Regan and others can provide some perspective through their research.

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Tony Cheng, Colorado State University’s associate professor in forest policy and director of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, will moderate an hour-long question- and-answer session following the 10-11 a.m. panelist presentation.

A half-hour meeting summary and outline of “next steps” will finish out the meeting, after on-the-ground updates are provided from 1-2:30 p.m. by the U.S. Forest Service incident commander Cal Wettstein and Colorado State Forest Service assistant forester Rich Edwards.

Coordinator Abbie Cobb said the event can answer questions floating around about what the forest landscape will look like in years to come, where cut trees go, what will happen to wildlife and watershed, why some areas are cut and others aren’t and more.

Lunch will be provided at no cost to all who RSVP to For additional information, call Abbie Cobb at (970) 390-8210.

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