Ravalli County Coverage

Jul 4, 2012 12:09 PM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News

Beetle-kill tree removal continues in Bitterroot campgrounds

DARBY- Bitterroot National Forest managers are preparing to close another campground as efforts continue to control the infestation of mountain pine beetles.

The U.S. Forest Service is trying to control the worst of the beetle problem around "high value" areas like campgrounds and trailheads to preserve scenic areas and maintain public safety.

That's involving both spraying for beetles, and actually removing trees that have been damaged or killed by the insects.

Beginning on July 9th, the USFS will close the Sam Billings campground and access road, the Boulder Creek Road and the Boulder Creek Trailhead for all motorized, and non-motorized use including walking for one month so loggers can salvage dead and infested trees.

Foresters say the closure is to make sure visitors are safe from the logging operations.

Meanwhile, work is also continuing around the Three Frogs campground on Lake Como, which remains closed right now. That logging had been scheduled for completion in a couple of weeks, but is taking longer than expected.

The USFS has stepped up its attack on the pine beetles in the Bitterroot with the most recent aerial survey showing a six-fold increase in the acres killed by the insects on the forest in the past couple of years.

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