Diverse mix of trees means Skico resorts won’t suffer same fate as Vail and others…Infested trees will be cut down to minimize the spread of beetles; forest stands will be thinned to promote new growth and age diversity; and insecticides will be used to try to save specific “high-value trees,” according to a US Forest Service (USFS) announcement on the environmental assessment.

ASPEN REAL ESTATE — The bark beetle infestation that’s sweeping through Colorado won’t hit the four local ski areas as hard as other resorts, thanks to Mother Nature and an assist from the U.S. Forest Service and Aspen Skiing Co.The forest surrounding the Roaring Fork Valley has a diverse mix of trees, making it less susceptible to infestations, said Skye Sieber, a staff member at the White River National Forest. The lodgepole pines — targets of the mountain pine beetle — are mixed with Douglas fir and spruce trees. “Aspen’s in a little bit of a different situation than some of the ski areas on the east end of the forest,” Sieber said. Beetle infestations have devastated trees near Vail and Breckenridge simply because lodgepole pines dominated the forests there.The Forest Service and Skico are going to take advantage of the natural defenses in the forest surrounding Aspen. An inventory of the ski areas was undertaken over the last few years to identify the tree mix and level of infestation. Now the Forest Service is working on an environmental assessment for a vegetation management plan that will guide Skico actions for the next five to 10 years

By Scott Condon, Oct 20, 2010 Aspen Times

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