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Mountain pine beetle activity on the decline

Editor's note: This is the fourth weekly installment in a series on how Summit County is addressing the threat of wildfire through the Summit Wildfire Council, comprised of public-lands managers, fire departments, county and town officials, state forestry agents, neighborhood groups, local businesses and private citizens.

The bad news is that many of our trees are dead and dying, as seen in those distinctive red and gray stands of lodgepole pines throughout Summit County and beyond.

The good news is that the culprit — a beetle the size of a pencil eraser — finally is eating itself out of house and home.

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Summit Outside: the biology behind the lodgepole pine's blue stain

The term symbiosis comes from the Ancient Greek “syn” — “with” — and “bíosis” — “living” — and is the close and often long-term interactions between different biological species. Often this interaction is obligate, in that neither can live without the other. One classic example is the lichen, a combination of a fungus and green algae. The fungus provides the housing (protection from the elements), and their food is made by the algae via the sun and its photosynthetic capabilities.

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Colorado State Forest Service seedling trees available

Summit County Extension is now accepting applications on a first-come, first-serve basis for low-cost seedling trees and shrubs from the Colorado State Forest Service Nursery in Fort Collins. The CSFS seedling tree program provides an affordable way to reforest and diversify Colorado landscapes using native seedlings.

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'Theater' of dead trees

The U.S. Forest Service's bark beetle mitigation efforts may change focus in 2011, and move toward attending to the broader scale of falling trees impacting watersheds. That's according to White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams during his presentation at Thursday's Forest Service Task Force meeting in Frisco.

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USFS releases study on Breckenridge logging project

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The U.S. Forest Service has released its environmental analysis for the Breckenridge Forest Health and Fuels project, proposing extensive clear-cutting and other treatments across about 5,600 acres of public national forest land around the town.

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Towns, county on alert for high water in Summit County

As the peak runoff time approaches, county and town governments are keeping a close eye on rivers and streams and trying to be as prepared as possible for the rising waters expected soon.

Stream flows are still at or below average for this time of year, meaning the snow pack — which exceeded averages by up to 500 percent this year in some areas — is still up on the mountains with the heaviest runoff is yet to come.

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Breckinridge Gets Its 1st LEED Gold Home

Summit County, Colorado, has its first LEED Gold certified residence – Sunshine Ridge, designed by Breckenridge architect Michael F. Gallagher –  which recently received Mountain Living Magazine‘s Peak Award.

Local factors definitely had an impact on the construction of this home, commissioned by an Oklahoma family for their land outside of Breckenridge. For instance, beetle-killed pine trees from the site that got cut down during construction were exchanged at the mill for processed beetle-killed lumber, which was then used for the exterior wood cladding and decking...

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CU comes to town March 18 with beetle talk

CU-Boulder comes to town on March 18 as part of an outreach tour in the Central Rocky Mountains. The topic is near if not dear to Summit County residents' hearts: the pine beetle.

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center in Breckenridge, Chancellor Philip DiStefano and professor Jeffry Mitton host a presentation titled “Causes and Consequences: Colorado and the Pine Beetle.” The talk is about the unprecedented epidemic of mountain pine beetles that has taken over forests in the Mountain West, with some discussion of why it's occurring.

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Selling the Beetle Kill

Summit County's Forest Health Task Force has long had the idea to bring blue-stained lodgepole pine products together into a catalog and brand it as a marketable building supply.The trouble is, the idea has taken shape, but the funding has not. With a goal of finding end uses for the millions of dead and dying trees in Colorado forests (estimated at more than 3 million acres affected by the pine beetle epidemic), Howard Hallman and the task force, a program of the Greenlands Reserve, have hatched the plan to create a user-friendly catalog of green, renewable products with architects, builders, developers and interior designers in mind.

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Foliage Viewers Impacted By Pine Beetle Work

SILVERTHORNE, Colo. -- The idyllic tranquility normally found in the mountains could be disrupted by the whine of chainsaws in Summit and Eagle counties for the next few weeks. People who travel to the alpine to view fall foliage are being alerted that many of their favorite trails or U.S. Forest Service roads could be closed or impacted due to beetle kill mitigation work.

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