Bark beetle on everyone’s mind |

Bark beetle on everyone’s mind

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado

SILVERTHORNE – If you ask a front desk employee at the White River National Forest’s Dillon District Office what question they get asked most by visitors, the answer is easy. Everyone wants to know what we’re doing about the bark beetles in Summit County.

Look no further than behind the Summit County Commons to see just one of the projects we’re undertaking to reduce the threat of wildfire to nearby communities by removing hazardous fuels and beetle-killed trees.

Right now we’re removing beetle-killed trees and other hazardous fuels in a 400-foot strip on 88 acres behind the Summit County Commons, including the hospital, emergency dispatch and other county services. We’re also creating the same types of fuels reduction work behind the high school and at adjacent subdivisions south of the high school. The work behind the school will total roughly 140 acres.

You can also see our timber contractors at work on 86 acres in the Heaton Bay Campground area as crews work to remove dead trees from the popular, 63-unit camping spot. New vegetation will be planted this fall and next spring to ensure a healthy-looking campground in the future.

On Friday we closed the bidding process to timber contractors who want to perform 1,360 acres of wildland urban interface and forest health treatments. We hope to soon award a contract, with the timber operator beginning work later this summer.

The project will occur in areas adjacent to Dillon Reservoir; Interstate 70; Old Dillon Reservoir; and the Wildernest, Mesa Cortina, Ruby Ranch, Three Peeks, Eagles Nest and Maryland Creek Ranch subdivisions.

Another project involving the Maryland Creek Ranch subdivision north of Silverthorne will include fuels reduction work on 44 acres of National Forest System lands adjacent to the subdivision. Our timber experts hope to have this project under contract within a month.

Not to say that we’re doing all of this work alone. We’re collaborating with Summit County; the towns of Frisco, Dillon, Silverthorne and Keystone; Mesa Cortina, Ruby Ranch, Three Peaks/Eagles Nest and Wildernest home owner’s associations; Buffalo Ridge and Timber Ridge condominium associations; Buffalo Mountain Metro District; Comcast; the Colorado Department of Transportation; Xcel Energy; Quest; the Frisco Nordic Center; various county commissioners; the Northern Colorado Bark Beetle Cooperative; and Northwest Council of Governments.

For more information about beetle-related projects in Summit County, contact Cary Green, forester, at 970-827-5160.

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