Foresters take on beetle battle |

Foresters take on beetle battle

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Battling beetles was the focus last week of the Colorado/Wyoming Society of American Foresters annual meeting at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.”The meeting is really about information on bark beetles, what legislation is doing and what we’re doing as agencies looking at the bigger picture of stand structure of the forest, in terms of trying to manage the epidemic,” said Meg Halford of the state Forest Service.U.S. Forest Service entomologist Bob Cain presented detailed aerial survey maps from the past five years showing the steady spread of beetle-infested forests across northern Colorado.Techniques such as partial cutting and preventative spraying still need research and development before widespread implementation, panel speakers said. The best hope is to organize around a “teachable moment” to become united and active in managing beetle infestation, said Rob Mangold, Forest Service director of forest health.

Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger stressed the “act local” angle by describing the role of the Bark Beetle Information Task Force that provides information to Routt County residents and communicates with the state Legislature.State Forest Service district forester John Twitchell said foresters are facing a catch-up game. “It’s such a huge problem; it’s bigger than one entity. Come July, we’ll see a lot of orange trees,” Twitchell said.Northwest Colorado SAF Chairman Ron Cousineau said he hopes the meeting can help maintain the momentum of public action against a natural force that liquidates mature forests.

“This epidemic is 10 years in the making,” he said. “Rather than being completely reactive, the public can become involved in a positive way and become proactive by contacting their county commissioner and local Forest Service, and in a productive manner, demand management activities.”Summit County Mountain Pine Beetle Task Force- What: Next meeting

– When: 7:30 a.m., Thursday, June 1- Where: Best Western Lake Dillon Lodge near Safeway in Frisco (I-70 exit 203)

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