Daily Editorial: Good luck, Aspen | VailDaily.com

Daily Editorial: Good luck, Aspen

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

Aspen and Vail have more in common than Aspenites might want to believe. Aside from exorbitant housing costs, Aspen also is grappling with the pine beetle problem.

The Aspen Times reported recently that beetles were found in a couple of trees in town, and local forest experts are worried that the bugs could establish a foothold in the area.

Aspen Mountain itself would probably be spared a big outbreak since most of the trees there are Douglas firs, which pine beetles don’t attack. But other areas, such as Smuggler Mountain, could eventually turn brown.

While we hope the beetles don’t move wholesale into the Roaring Fork Valley, we certainly hope the people who manage forests there have taken good notes on what’s happening here, and what’s already happened in Grand County.

Forest managers over the last year or so have acknowleged that nothing in their experience, or the historical record, prepared them for the scope of the beetle infestation that’s hit this area. It’s good to know this cycle of the beetle kill may destroy 90 percent or more of the lodgepole pines.

It’s unlikely people in and around Aspen will overreact and start cutting every pine in sight ” the owner of a tree taken out there was quoted as lamenting the loss of a single pine. But we certainly hope people in the Aspen area learn from our example. Hit the beetle-stricken trees hard and hit them fast.

Maybe we can find green forest there in a few years, as well as around Leadville.

” Scott N. Miller for the Editorial Board

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