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Join Forces With Your Neighbors In The Fight Against Pine Beetles

Cutting and hauling trees is demanding physical labor, but the job can be done more easily when neighbors work together. Photo courtesy Town of Estes Park

Each year more Front Range forests succumb to pine beetle attacks — and the dead trees left behind are hazardous to people and their homes. Dealing with the aftermath is a bigger task than any individual can address on his or her own. Neighbors can work together to more easily remove these hazardous trees so their neighborhoods will be protected from wild fire and become safer places to live.

In Canada, where pine beetles have been devastating forests for years, mitigation has been successful when community members rallied together at the early stages of infestation. Communities which did not join forces, or waited until the pine beetle numbers were too great, failed to save their trees. This is the crucial year to join with neighbors in the Estes Valley to destroy infested trees before pine beetles fly in search of new trees this summer.

Any established community network is a great starting point for creating a bark beetle group. Regularly-scheduled meetings, e-mail distribution lists and phone trees are effective ways to share current information about the beetle epidemic. Work with the entire community to capitalize on the group’s collective skills. Different individuals may be good at organizing and planning, cutting trees or motivating neighbors to participate.

Cutting and hauling trees is demanding physical labor and can be overwhelming for a single person. Pool neighborhood resources to determine what equipment is available. Perhaps one neighbor has a tractor, another has a chainsaw and yet another has teenage kids willing to haul slash. In addition, forestry contractors may offer discounted rates if they know they have an entire neighborhood to work with instead of just individual property owners.

The Town can help

The Town offers free Beetle Buster inspections by calling the Public Works Department at 970-577-3588. A trained Beetle Buster volunteer will visit with property owners and confirm successful beetle attacks on trees. Beetle Busters can provide advice on forest health and recommendations specific to the landowner’s situation.

The Town of Estes Park provides free disposal of infested trees from Estes Valley properties at a sort yard located at 666 Elm Road. The site is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Trees must be stripped of branches, cut into sections and delivered to the site by the property owner. Logs should be kept as long as possible for transportation. Although shorter logs are accepted, logs at least 8 feet 3 inches in length are preferred. Shorter logs will be burned in an air-curtain burner, while logs longer than 8 feet 3 inches will be treated and used as wood products such as fence poles and lumber. For more information, please call the Town Public Works Department at 970-577-3588.

For more treatment options, visit www.estes.org/publicworks to download a copy of the free publication A Northern Front Range Landowner Guide to Living with Bark Beetles, or pick up a copy outside Room 150 of Town Hall, located at 170 MacGregor Avenue.

This is the fourth article in a series that will appear through April, 2010. The Town of Estes Park Public Information Office utilizes information provided by the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State University, and Larimer, Jefferson, Clear Creek, Boulder and Gilpin Counties. For more information on pine beetles and Town services, please visit www.estes.org/publicworks or call 970-577-3588. To receive Town news in your e-mail inbox, please e-mail townadmin@estes.org.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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