Frisco celebrates fall with beetle festival
FFRISCO, Colorado – Some towns mark fall with Octoberfest celebrations. The town of Frisco is celebrating the pine beetle, the tiny bug that has infested tens of thousands of acres of trees across the central-Colorado mountains.
The town about 70 miles west of Denver plans its second “BeetleFest” Sept. 12. Events include the Beetle Stomp fun run, music and a show by logrolling, axe-throwing lumberjacks.
Frisco isn’t making light of the bark beetle epidemic that has devastated more than 2 million acres of pine trees. The town is in the middle of some of the hardest-hit forests, where the burrowing beetle has sapped the life from huge stands of trees, drying them out and turning their needles from green to rust.
“It’s depressing to see what’s going on,” said Tim Bock, Frisco’s marketing and communications director, said the festival is a chance to raise awareness.
But Bock said the infestation is a natural process and the festival is a chance to raise awareness. The event will also raise money for Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, a volunteer group that helps with wildfire prevention, trail maintenance and other projects.
The festival will include a chance to see creepy crawlers up close in a bug petting zoo. There will be food and drinks and people selling furniture, toys and other items made from beetle-kill wood.
Colorado communities and state and federal foresters are cutting huge swaths of trees to reduce the risk of wildfire if the dead trees catch fire.
While bark beetle infestations are considered part of natural cycles, experts believe the current outbreak, occurring throughout the Rockies, has been aggravated by drought and warmer-than-normal temperatures. Colorado hasn’t had prolonged freezing temperatures that would help kill the bugs, and the drought has weakened the trees.
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