They can’t see the forests for the trees |

They can’t see the forests for the trees

As a member of a small, homeowners’ association in Summit County for 14 years that has spent a considerable portion of its budget cutting down and removing trees infested by pine beetles (before they fly each year), I am appalled by the inaction and lack of common sense of the Forest Service in the Lower Blue toward an infestation that threatens the county and much of the state. In the last two years, our 19 homeowners have approved budgets that cut and removed 1,000 trees on a 250-acre tract. Correction, this year of the total cut, about 125 were not removed because the Forest Service claims that the trees had been on Forest Service land (we believe the number is much less).The contractor had the wrong kind of permits, but that is irrelevant. All the trees were infected with pine beetles. Each one will spread to five more trees on public and private land next year. Our association assumed the cost of cutting and removing the trees in the late spring before the beetles flew onto uninfected lodgepole pines. What is worse, not only did the Forest Service impound the trees, they have not removed them from the road adjacent to our property for over a month-and-a-half. Guess what! The beetles have flown.The Forest Service must have spent in excess of 125 hours investigating this horrendous crime, tagging each tree and stump. You would hope that they would come up with a macro plan for the county. I have a suggestion. Knowing that the state of Colorado and the federal government currently prefer tax cuts to funding its agencies that serve the common good adequately, why doesn’t the Forest Service encourage the establishment of a special district that would fund a comprehensive and coordinated plan to effectively address the pine beetle infestation?Clearly, the hours spent on this case would have yielded better results if they had been invested in researching strategies and convening concerned citizens to deal with the long term impact of the pine beetle on Summit County.

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