Letter: He speaks for Vail’s trees
Vail, CO Colorado
In the 22 years I’ve been vacationing in Vail, I’ve spent a total of two-and-a-half years here. Much of that time has been spent hiking and snowboarding in the trees. “The trees” have been the source of so much beauty and pleasure. Now it is desolating to see first-hand, close-up the dying lodgepole pine component of the White River National Forest. Notwithstanding heroic but misplaced efforts to evacuate obviously dead and dying trees by helicopter to try to stem the tide, the lodgepole pine is doomed. For every obviously dead or dying tree, five to 10 healthy-appearing trees are infected and certain to die.
But enough of the terrible news. The good news is, the other components of the forest are alive and well. Above Mid-Vail, that forest is comprised mostly by spruce and fir which are resistant to the pine beetle. Above that level few lodge pole pine currently exist. The spruce/fir forest is dense, healthy and a joy to tree skiers, snowboarders and hikers. These same trees grow well but are sparse in the dead/dying lodge pole dense areas.
Therefore, I propose that, for all of us who define our Vail experience by the beautiful forest, we take an active role. I urge you all to plant tiny saplings of fir and spruce in the lodge pole dense areas. With the increasing light admitted in these areas due to the dying lodge poles, these resistant saplings should thrive.
I urge the Town of Vail to institute a small surtax to pay for such a program. However, even without the help of politicians and bureaucrats, we should not shirk from our own efforts and we should dismiss the anticipated whining of those who will say we are upsetting the natural order of things. The lodgepole is dead. Long live the spruce and fir.
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