January 14, 2008 at 20:49 #72989
I am watching the news on the pine beetle and it does not sound good for colorado and the front range.Since our forrest here in colorado is a driving force in our beutiful colororado mountain biking adventures,is there anyone that wants to speak out here on singletracks about the unavoidable future of the pine beetles apetite for destruction of our trees.
January 15, 2008 at 07:26 #72990
I recall camping up from Winter Park a couple years ago. I pitched my tent in the woods and noticed piles of sawdust around the base of the trees — all of them — around me. Yup, looking at the bark there were little holes with sawdust coming out of them. I’m sure that entire forest has been wiped out by now.
What’s to say? The lodgepoles will be mostly wiped out; ponderosas will be heavily impacted. The forest will regenerate, but not in our lifetimes. Some areas will be negatively impacted by increased flooding and silt problems, others will have more water seep into the watershed since the trees won’t be there to use it.
Yeah, the pine forests are beautiful, but we humans have this odd desire to try and freeze them in time, and that is just not how nature works. Things change, and our attempts to prevent change (witness the fallout from the last hundred years of fire suppression) just lead to bigger disasters. There is no practical way we can force the forests to stay in any particular state forever. I think we have to learn to work within nature’s whims, carefully intervening only when we are convinced that we can do more good than harm.
This has been progressing for years. I used to have a property in Chaffee County in the 90s; the assault was already on back then. Our property owners association did a yearly tree inspection of the entire neighborhood and if any tree was found to be infected it was marked for immediate professional destruction. Property owners who didn’t play along were setting themselves up for a legal lean on their property if they didn’t stay on top of the health of their trees. I payed hundreds of dollars over the years to have my trees sprayed for beetles.
This wasn’t just a bunch of busybodies trying to poke their noses in other people’s business. The trees upslope from our property (national forest land) was full of dead trees that had already been ravaged. One of the attractions of getting a place in the mountains is the forest, and once the beetles come thru that’s the end of the forest as we like it. To this day the trees in that neighborhood still look good, even though huge stands of the surrounding forest have died. The humans got the upper hand there, but it is a small fraction of the trees in that valley.
Funny thing is even in the 90s there was speculation that global warming would encourage infestations since the winters weren’t cold enough to kill the beetles. Who knows if that is true or not, and regardless, at this point what’s done is done. We will just have to live with the consequences.
January 17, 2008 at 20:13 #72991
do you recognize where im at in my pic.it’s winter park,and i just cant imagine all the damage to the trees there.I absolutly love winter park in the middle of the summer for riding through the trees when it’s really hot out.those trees are like natures air conditioning up there.There’s such a nice cool breeze in the summer,and soo peacful with the wind blowing through the trees.just as good as a cruise ship or a tropical island get away.
Bonkedagain,how bad do you think the beetles will affect this area in the near future?I got an idea,although i have not had any first hand experience like you have with the pine beetle.Our colorado resorts are where i like to ride in the middle of the summer when it’s hot out.I want to get an idea of what those rides might be like in the coming years.My plan is to ride moab,fruita,front range,etc..in the spring and fall.and like i said,i like to ride winter park,breckenridge,keystone,etc..in the middle of summer.
January 17, 2008 at 20:40 #72992
Our lush green forests are changing – for good. Like fires, I think this one of the ways nature contols the age of forests. It sucks but it is inevitable.
How will our biking change? In the short-term, I’d say not much. In the long term, there may be more fire damaged areas and also more fallen trees (from the high winds knocking over dead trees).
There will still be and always be incredible rides in and around Colorado. Places like Fruita and Moab won’t change (not too many trees in Moab.)
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