Silverthorne offers 2 acres to dispose of beetle-kill trees |

Silverthorne offers 2 acres to dispose of beetle-kill trees

summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado

SILVERTHORNE ” Concern about this summer’s expected removal of between two and three thousand pine beetle-infested trees from within town limits has prompted the Silverthorne Town Council to create a disposal site at the Town’s Cottonwood Park.

Specific hours of operation and fees for the temporary facility to be located just south of the water treatment plant are still being worked out, but tentative plans include allowing disposal of slash and chips from local properties on a fee-per-load basis during the tree removal season ” roughly May 15 through Aug. 1.

Several homeowners had approached the Town with requests for some type of tree disposal assistance.

Last fall, the Town tagged nearly 2,000 trees on private property for removal, and as many as 1,000 additional trees in the untagged Three Peaks neighborhood may also have to come down. As the beetle epidemic continues to grow, available tree removal contractors are in greater demand, causing increased scheduling problems when the individual contractors have to transport all tree components to the county landfill. A central disposal site within Town limits would greatly facilitate the process, the homeowners claimed.

After lengthy discussion at its April 22 work session, the Town Council agreed.

“I think this is worth quite a bit of time,” Councilmember Bruce Butler said. “It’s a major crisis.”

The new facility will allow contractors and property owners to dump wood chips and slash less than 4 inches in diameter at the site, after showing proof of an address within town limits and paying in advance at Town Hall. At some point during the summer, the Town will rent a grinder to process the slash. As in past years, all the chips will be hauled to the Climax Mine to be used for revegetation ” at no cost to the town.

Because of the site’s space limitations, homeowners will need to take removed logs elsewhere.

“The reason we’re not accepting logs is it’s just too much,” Silverthorne public works director Bill Linfield said.

Linfield anticipates slash and chips alone will fill up the two acres the Town plans to fence in.

Several council members expressed concern about contractors and homeowners from outside Silverthorne trying to use the facility.

“I don’t mind funding the program,” Mayor Dave Koop said. “But my concern is I don’t want it turning into a county dumping area.”

Linfield assured the council a public works employee would be on site during its hours of operation to prevent abuse of the town-subsidized facility by non-residents.

The existing Town budget allocates $50,000 for pine beetle control, and Linfield estimated the temporary service will cost the Town an additional $20,000.

Construction of a new joint Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue/Silverthorne Public Works on the Cottonwood site starting in 2009 will prevent future use of the area for tree disposal, but the Town has already started to look for alternative sites, Linfield said.

Three Peaks neighborhood association representative George Fugere thanked the council for its willingness to help homeowners manage the beetle epidemic.

“I think you’re on the right track,” he said. “And we’ll do anything we can to assist you.

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