Forest Service May Close 32 Wyoming Campgrounds
All 32 campgrounds in the Shoshone Forest on the east side of Yellowstone National Park may remain closed next summer as the Forest Service focuses its efforts and cash on a 2.5 million- acre insect epidemic in southern Wyoming and northern Colorado, according to the Cody (Wyo.) Enterprise.
“It’s not final – it’s all preliminary,” Shoshone Forest Supervisor Becky Aus said last week of the tentative closure plan.
She said her preliminary budget was prepared in October, when the new priorities were identified. The final budget will not be known until January.
Aus explained that Regional Forester Rick Cables is dealing with the same sort of insect epidemic that has claimed 600,000 acres of trees in the Shoshone.
Like Aus, he has had to decide how to best allocate his resources to battle the beetles and protect people from falling trees on trails and in campgrounds.
The regional forester has prioritized the problems in three areas: Wyoming’s Medicine Bow-Routt and Colorado’s Arapahoe and Roosevelt, and White River national forests.
In Wyoming the impacted trees include Douglas fir and spruce, with some lodgepole pine, all types that take longer to die and fall.
In Colorado, she said, impacted trees include species that fall more quickly once they have been killed by beetles. For that reason, “trees are falling on trails and in campgrounds” used by many people, making that area a higher priority for treatment, she said.
Those involved with tourism in Cody likewise are concerned about the situation despite the possibility that it will improve before next summer.
Meanwhile, Forest Service officials have asked a National Incident Management Organization team to assist regional staff as they continue to address the 2.5 million acre mountain pine beetle epidemic in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming.