Appeal of pine beetle plan denied
 

Daily Staff Report
June 7, 2006

 

VAIL — The U.S. Forest Service has rejected an appeal of a plan to cut down pine-beetle infested trees from Vail to Edwards.

The so-called “Vail Valley Forest Health Project” — which targets trees on 3,000 acres of land in Vail, Intermountain, Eagle-Vail, Minturn, Avon, Mountain Star, Wildridge, Beaver Creek and Arrowhead — was challenged by a pair of lawyers in Minturn and another man.

The Forest Health Project proposes to remove dead and dying lodgepole pine that have been affected by the current mountain pine beetle epidemic, as well as thin healthy stands to increase their resistance to mortality. The project was appealed last month with appellants citing concerns that a number of issues were not adequately addressed.

“This is a project that we did extensive and solid research and planning for. That we were overwhelmingly supported by the Regional Forester is a testament to the 6 years of hard work the Forest Service, town of Vail, Colorado State Forest Service, Vail Resorts, Inc., Eagle County, and Gunnison Forest Health Management Service Center have all put into the project,” District Ranger Cal Wettstein said.

Foresters had expected the beetles to kill 50 percent to 70 percent of the trees from Vail to Edwards, but now believe the mortality rate will be 80 percent to 90 percent in some areas above Intermountain and Minturn and along the Red Sandstone road north of Vail.

Trees that are infested with or have been killed by beetles are more likely to burn in a forest fire.

For more information visit the White River National Forest’s Web site at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/whiteriver/projects/vail_valley/index.shtm.

Vail Colorado