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Lodgepole regeneration will benefit lynx

If there’s a silver lining to the pine beetle storm clouds sweeping Colorado forests, it may be for the threatened Canada lynx. The rare cats depend on snowshoe hares as their most important source of food, and as dead lodgepole pine forests grow back over the next few decades, they will provide vast new areas of good hare habitat, at least temporarily.

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Summit lawmakers head to D.C. for forest health funds

Summit County's state lawmakers are in the nation's capital today, testifying in support of legislation that would provide funding to address the mountain bark beetle epidemic. State Sen. Dan Gibbs and State Rep. Christine Scanlan, both of whom represent Summit County, are lobbying U.S. senators in hopes of drumming up millions of dollars for western forests through the National Forest Insect and Disease Emergency Act.

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George Wuerthner: Are beetles and wildfire fears misplaced?

The current pine beetle “outbreak” that has led to higher tree mortality among Colorado forests has prompted some people to suggest that beetle-kill trees will invariably lead to larger wildfires and “destroy” our forests. At the heart of this issue are flawed assumptions about wildfires, what constitutes a healthy forest, and the options available to humans in face of natural processes that are inconvenient and get in the way of our designs.

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Climate change threatens ski industry, group says

Summit Daily News
BRECKENRIDGE — Colorado's ski industry is in danger of “melting away” if Congress doesn't act decisively on climate change legislation, said Dana Hoffman, an energy expert with Environment Colorado.

Beetle-battle panel created

When Dan Gibbs, a first-term legislator from Silverthorne, began talking to people at the Capitol last year about the beetle epidemic that is drastically reshaping Colorado's forests, he said a Front Range colleague stared back at him dumbfounded.

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Study shows low awareness of fire risks in Red Zone

Many people buying mountain homes for the first time do not fully understand the wildfire risks in the wildland-urban interface zone, according to a U.S. Forest Service study conducted in the Colorado Springs area. The study is posted in a Scribd.com window at the end of the story.

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Forest Service presents modified plan for Breckenridge forest health

U.S. Forest Service officials presented the latest version of a plan to reduce fire risk and improve forest health on 5,600 acres of public land near Breckenridge. The modified plan, presented Wednesday night to the public, calls for logging operations to remove dead and dying lodgepole pine trees affected by the mountain pine beetle epidemic. Officials expect lodgepole mortality to reach 90 percent within the next several years.

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Pine beetles increase falling tree danger in backcountry

Buried pines also pose threat to snowmobilers
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado — As if wildfire danger and marred views weren't enough, the mountain pine beetle has found yet another way to spoil our fun: Falling trees.

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Forest Service on the right track with hazard tree removal

It's not always easy to find fans in the category “things federal agencies do,” but it's hard not to be on board with the recent U.S. Forest Service announcement that hazard-tree removal is moving near the top of their list. Last week, the Forest Service said it will expand a $15 million project to remove beetle-killed trees from in the White River National Forest as well as the Arapaho-Roosevelt and Medicine Bow-Routt forests. 

Year of the Beetle?

Ten years from now, 2007 might be known as the "Year of the Beetle," even though the pesky little critter was invading our forests a decade ago. The past 364 days saw local, state and federal government officials talk about the "pine beetle," while most of our hillsides became their favorite meal.