Pine Beetle Causes Campground Closings
One of the effects of the current mountain pine beetle infestation is the danger of beetle-killed trees falling in campgrounds.
Out of the 57 campgrounds in Colorado’s White River National Forest, six campgrounds may have delayed openings this summer and three campgrounds may be closed all summer, according to a U.S. Forest Service news release.
Prospector, Lowry and Blue River campgrounds in the Dillon Ranger District will not be able to open this year, due to the vast extent of the beetle infestation and a limited number of contractors and Forest Service resources available.
“We are very concerned with the public’s safety when it comes to the danger posed by these dead trees, especially to those visitors staying in our campgrounds," said Cal Wettstein, acting forest service supervisor. "But I also want people to know that we are doing everything we can to mitigate the problem and get our campgrounds open as soon as possible." He emphasized that work is already underway while snow is still on the ground and that several options for getting the trees cut and removed, including using experienced prison fire crews, are being explored.
A number of forest campgrounds have already had hazard trees removed. However, the forest’s recreation program manager Rich Doak reminds the public that the beetle problem will likely continue to spread and for visitors to be careful when recreating in areas where trees have been killed.
Be aware of the surroundings and wind conditions, Doak warned. The infestation will likely require future treatments at additional popular recreation areas.