18 Nov 2009, 9:26am
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Shoshone may close campsites

by CJ Baker, Powell Tribune, 17 November 2009 [here]

Bark beetles bite regional budget

A bark beetle-induced budget crunch could lead to the closure of the Shoshone National Forest’s camping sites next summer.

The regional Forest Service office in Denver is proposing to shift funding away from some of its forests to focus on those in northern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming — the areas hit hardest by mountain pine beetle-kill.

Some 2.5 million acres in the the Arapaho, Roosevelt, White River, Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests are believed to be affected by the beetle epidemic.

Much of those areas are interwoven with power lines and infrastructure. A large concern for foresters is the possibility that the dead and weakened trees will topple onto power lines, knocking out large swaths of power and perhaps sparking catastrophic wildfires.

In those five national forests, the Forest Service already has begun planning an effort to clear all potentially hazardous trees within 200 feet of of electrical transmission lines and from within 75 feet of distribution lines.

The Rocky Mountain Region has budgeted $49 million to deal with the beetle-kill in fiscal year 2010, the Associated Press reported — with some of that money being re-directed from forests such as the Shoshone.

The preliminary directive from the regional office in Denver told forest managers that all campgrounds — except for those run by private concessionaires — should be shut down as one cost-saving measure. … [more]

See also the Gunbarrel WFU Fire [here, here]



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