Rocky Mountain National Park has class on history’s largest pine beetle epidemic |

Rocky Mountain National Park has class on history’s largest pine beetle epidemic

Red pine trees affected by the recent beetle epidemic.
Courtesy Rocky Mountain Conservancy |

Want to learn more about the beetles that ate the West?

On Monday, June 23, you can join a Rocky Mountain Conservancy Field Institute instructor for a course on the largest beetle outbreak in history. From British Columbia to New Mexico and from Colorado to California, forests have been losing trees faster now than 50 years ago. More than 70 percent of the trees in Rocky Mountain National Park have been affected by the beetle.

Students will spend the day with naturalist Jeff Connor and learn about forest insects and diseases and how they affect wildlife, wildfires and the landscape. Participants also will discuss park management issues related to beetle outbreak and what the future may hold for the park’s forests.

For 25 years, Connor worked as a natural resources specialist in Rocky Mountain National Park. He was responsible for the bark beetle management program at the beginning of the outbreak in the park in 2006.

As a wildland firefighter for more than 20 years, he also worked on a National Burn Area Emergency Rehab Team doing emergency assessments on impacts to human life, property, and cultural and natural resources following fire. Now retired, Connor is an instructor with the Rocky Mountain Conservancy.

For more information, or to register for this or other Rocky Mountain Conservancy Field Institute classes, visit or call (970) 586-3262.

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