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Silverthorne’s residents remove pine-beetle trees

Caitlin Row
crow@summitdaily.com
Silverthorne, CO Colorado

SILVERTHORNE, Colorado ” Silverthorne continued its pine-beetle battle in 2008 by clearing dead and diseased trees, making good on a town code adopted in 2007 to reduce the spread of the beetle while also mitigating fire danger.

Some 235 private properties were affected with 2,129 dead or diseased trees in Silverthorne in 2008, according to Silverthorne’s community-services officer David Siderfin.

Most of the property owners removed their trees without town enforcement, although some needed warnings from the town.

“It all starts in September,” Siderfin said. “We employ a tree specialist to survey the town. They mark all the trees. They submit to us a list of where they found the trees. We notify all the residents that have pine beetles on their property … It’s quite time consuming. They have from the letter of notification to June 15 of next year to take the trees down.”

The town cut and removed more than 1,000 trees from town properties at a cost of $95,315.

The most recent town-wide tree survey identified 322 properties with 2,270 beetle-infested or dead trees which will need to be removed by next June 15.

“I try and work with the residents if they’re having a hard time getting tree companies to come out,” Siderfin said. “A lot of people do have trouble getting tree companies. I want to work together with residents. We did have to set some court dates up, but all the property owners came into compliance.”

Silverthorne also collected 7,000 cubic yards of chips and slash. The 70 semi-truck loads of material were hauled to Climax Mine for soil conservation.

Slash-site operation expenses totaled $22,000 for 2008. User fees totaled $11,500, bringing the town’s site operating expenses to $10,500.

“The town just wants to do something to help the residents,” Siderfin said. “To help the residents, we decided to come up with the slash site so the town was bearing some of the accounts.”

The town-run slash site was open on weekdays, May through August, and was kept open on a few scheduled Saturdays by demand.

“We kept it open a bit longer than we were originally going to because people were still taking down trees,” Siderfin added. “It seems to work really well. It saved people from going all the way to landfill.”

The town hopes to continue its slash site in 2009.

“It was hard work during the summer, but I think we got there,” Siderfin said of beetle-kill removal. “It’s a challenge and an on-going problem. It’s not something that’s going to stop. The main thing now is fire mitigation. It’s a big worry for the whole county. It would be hard for some of the properties close to the national forest if fire hit. We’re trying to work with the Forest Service and the county.”


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