Regional News

Beetle-kill epidemic a boon for Wyoming's timber industry?

ENCAMPMENT -- Anyone who thinks the mountain bark beetle epidemic is all bad for Wyoming hasn't bought a log cabin from Randy Olson. For three decades, Olson has run a company in Cody that makes premade log cabins and log houses -- a manufacturing process that resembles playing with life-sized Lincoln Logs

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Pitkin County: No new oil, gas leases in national forest

ASPEN — Pitkin County is urging White River National Forest officials to close forest lands to future oil and gas leasing as existing leases expire. The 2.3-million-acre forest in northwest Colorado surrounds Aspen and Pitkin County and is important to tourism and recreation in the county, says a letter outlining the county's stand on oil and gas leasing in the White River.

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Wind-blown tree hazard high this year

Hikers and bikers will have to deal with more wind-blown trees than usual blocking trails in the mountains around Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale this spring, a forest ranger said Wednesday. “It's been a windy year. I think [forest] visitors are going to encounter more blowdown,” said Martha Moran, a recreation manager and planner with the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District. “Some trails are not going to get cleared like they have been in recent years.”

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Beetle-beset trees to face forester’s ax

Rio Grande National Forest officials have signed off on a project that would salvage up to 878 acres of beetle-infested spruce trees in southern Conejos County. The project calls for harvesting between 8 million and 13.1 million board feet from a part of the forest that sits along the Rio de los Pinos, roughly two miles northwest of Cumbres Pass. Aerial surveys conducted last year found the spruce beetle has spread to roughly 144,000 acres of the 1.9 million acre national forest, but officials are not counting on the project to halt the infestation. 

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Ritter seeks $55M for projects in state’s forests

Gov. Bill Ritter is pressing the federal government for $55 million for forest-management projects in Colorado. Ritter asked for the funding when he met in Washington, D.C., with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar during that National Governors Association winter meeting last weekend. The U.S. Forest Service this year set aside $40 million to deal with the bark-beetle infestation in the Rocky Mountains. 

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Land managers launch tree-clearing plan to avoid water threats

DILLON — Denver and federal land managers today are launching a $33 million effort to clear trees from beetle-ravaged forests where fire and erosion increasingly threaten water supplies."If we don't make an investment now to make sure our watersheds are healthy, then we will have to deal with the problem later and at a much greater cost," Denver Water manager Jim Lochhead said.

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Mountain Pine Beetles May Fly Earlier This Year Says Colorado State Forest Service

The mountain pine beetles that have killed millions of Colorado pines in recent years may already be flying, earlier than typical summer dispersion dates. “I’ve already begun hearing reports of beetles flying north of Red Feather Lakes,” said Sky Stephens, Colorado State Forest Service forest entomologist, citing observations from other beetle experts in northern Colorado.

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Officials study threat to Fort Collins' water supply from beetle-kill trees

What happens if the Poudre River watershed, which Fort Collins relies on for part of its drinking water supply, is scorched by a catastrophic wildfire fed by dead trees killed by bark beetles?

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Biomass power production takes step back in N.M., forward in Colorado

One of the potential silver linings in the dark cloud of the ongoing mountain pine bark beetle epidemic – which has ravaged more then 2 million acres of lodgepole pine trees in Colorado and Wyoming – is the possibility of alternative energy in the form of biomass. Even as Sen. Mark Udall blasts Republicans for blocking key hearings on his bill to free up funds for national forest thinning to reduce wildfire risk, he has supported other uses for all that dead wood –including proposed biomass power plants in places like Vail.

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Beetle Mania

Some people can find the good in anything, even a pine beetle infestation that is killing trees in Colorado and Wyoming at alarming rates.

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