Dillon fights off beetles
summit daily news
DILLON ” It’s not as drastic as Frisco’s plan to remove at least 9,000 trees from its peninsula, but the town of Dillon will also hire a contractor to weed out the pine beetle infested trees from its recreation area on the Dillon Reservoir this summer.
The town council approved a contract Tuesday with The Tree Musketeers out of Evergreen to cut down 788 infected lodgepole pine trees from its 260-acre Dillon Nature Preserve.
Last year, the town paid to have 393 trees removed from the preserve for the same reason.
The preserve is a passive recreation area zoned as open space off Highway 6 between the Summerwood subdivision and Dillon Bay.
Starting May 1, the contractor will fell the trees, lop and scatter the limbs on the forest floor, and remove the trunks from the preserve, said assistant public works director Scott O’Brien.
Eliminating the dying trees from the forest could help rejuvenate the area by increasing space between the remaining trees, thus allowing sunlight through to the forest floor, O’Brien said.
“The trees that are left are going to be healthier and better able to fend of attacks in the future,” O’Brien said.
Although the town has never completed an official count of the trees on the peninsula, O’Brien said that the number of trees pegged for removal is a small chunk of what covers the preserve, and that people recreating in the area shouldn’t be affected by the upcoming work.
The preserve’s shelter is comprised of about 90 percent lodgepole pines with a smattering of blue spruce, Engleman spruce and deciduous trees, he said.
Right now, the town doesn’t have a long-term plan for the management of the peninsula, but is preparing to hire a consultant to complete a 10-year forest management plan for the entire town.
“It’s difficult for us because the peninsula is designated as a nature preserve,” he said. “We are trying to keep that particular area in as natural and forested state we can.”
Aside from the 788 infected trees in the preserve, there are 164 other trees under attack on town-owned property between the cemetery, town parks and town rights-of-way, O’Brien said. Removal of those trees is being handled by the public works department due to the more manageable number. Also, town employees will be extra sensitive not to damage tombstones in the cemetery and to keep erosion to a minimum when leveling trees in town parks.
Last year, the town used preventative spraying on 500 healthy trees between the Town Park and the Marina Park and saw about an 85 percent success rate, O’Brien said. Public works plans to hire a contractor again this year to spray the same number of trees; however, the town continues to opt against spraying trees in the preserve because the number is too great and the terrain is too rough for the practice to be effective, he said.
The removal project will cost the town $18,754 and is scheduled to begin May 1 and end June 16.
Recently, the town of Frisco decided to remove anywhere from 9,000 to 12,000 mature lodgepoles over a three-year span from the approximately 15,000 trees on the Frisco Peninsula.
Number of pine beetle infested trees removed in Dillon
2006-1,103 (marked for removal this summer)source: Scott O’Brien
Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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