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Protection Of High Value Trees And Hazard Mitigation Projects Continue At RMNP

Bark beetles continue to be active within Rocky Mountain National Park, impacting large numbers of conifer trees.  Starting in early April and ending by Memorial Day weekend, the park is planning to apply a Carbaryl based insecticide to up to 5,000 high-value trees to protect them from bark beetles. Treatment will occur in the following developed areas of the park: Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and Headquarters, Moraine Park Visitor Center, Kawuneeche Visitor Center, Aspenglen, Moraine Park, and Glacier Basin Campgrounds, Bighorn Ranger Station, McGraw Ranch, Holzwarth Historic Site, Timber Creek Campground Water Tank, Leiffer Cabin, Kaley Cottages, Lumpy Ridge Trailhead, and the east and west side park service housing areas.

Last year, nearly 5,000 trees were treated and most of these trees were not attacked by bark beetles. The total number of treated trees will be between 4,000 and 5,000, depending on site conditions.  Insecticide will be applied to individual trees to repel beetle attacks. The Longs Peak Campground will remain chemical free for this year.

The park is also treating up to 300 high value limber pine trees within front country and designated wilderness with verbenone pheromone packets to minimize infestation from bark beetles.  Limber pine trees in the park are currently at risk of mountain pine beetle infestation and infection from white pine blister rust. Research is being conducted to identify if any limber pine trees within the park are resistant to white pine blister rust.

The park’s priorities for mitigation of the effects of beetles are focused on removing hazard trees and hazard fuels related to the protection of life and property.  For several years, Rocky Mountain National Park has had a proactive bark beetle management program. As of fall 2009, bark beetles were considered at epidemic levels on the west side of the park and in outbreak status on the east side. In 2010, the park will continue its mitigation efforts, including spraying, removal of hazard trees, prescribed burns, utilizing the air curtain burner, pheromone treatments and implementing temporary closures in a variety of park locations.

Rocky Mountain National Park will continue to mitigate hazard trees through tree removal at locations throughout the park. Park staff and contracted resources will conduct hazard tree mitigation throughout the year. Planned project sites include: Aspenglen Campground, Moraine Park Campground, Glacier Basin Campground, Longs Peak Campground, the Wild Basin area, Old Fall River Road, Grand Lake Lodge Road, Kawuneeche Visitor Center, Green Mountain Trailhead, Onahu Trailhead, Beaver Creek Picnic Area, Beaver Ponds Picnic Area, Coyote Valley Trailhead, Bowen/Baker Trailhead, Shadow Mountain Lookout, Holzwarth Historic Site, Colorado River Trailhead, Timber Lake Trailhead, Grand County Roads 49 and 491, Colorado River District Boundary Power Lines, Trail Ridge Road Corridor in the Colorado River District, park housing and headquarters areas.  Tree removals vary from site to site and temporary site closures can be expected at smaller sites to facilitate safe and efficient project completion. More detailed information will be provided on the Trail Ridge Road Corridor Project.

Park staff are focused on minimizing any delays or inconveniences associated with hazard tree removal and providing a safe environment for visitors. Material disposal will involve piles for future burning and consolidation at designated sites for future utilization including firewood collection permits. More information on utilization will be available in the summer of 2010.

For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please contact the park’s information office at (970) 586-1206 or visit the park’s website section on forest health at www.nps.gov/romo/naturescience/forest_health.htm.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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