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Mitigation Work in 2009 for Beetles Continues at Rocky Mountain National Park

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Date: May 8, 2009
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363

Bark beetles continue to be active within Rocky Mountain National Park, impacting large numbers of conifer trees. A few weeks ago, the park began applying a Carbaryl based insecticide to up to 5,000 high value trees to protect them from bark beetles. Treatment will occur in the following developed areas of the park: Beaver Meadows Visitor Center & Headquarters area, Moraine Park Visitor Center and the William Allen White Cabin, Kawuneeche Visitor Center, Aspenglen, Moraine Park, Glacier Basin & Timber Creek Campgrounds, Bighorn Ranger Station, McGraw Ranch, Holzwarth Historic Site, and east and west side park service housing areas.

Last year, nearly 5,000 trees were treated with Carbaryl and most of these trees were not attacked by bark beetles. To be effective, spraying must be done annually and applied directly to trunks. Broadcast spraying is not effective. There can be adverse impacts with Carbaryl spraying, therefore, park staff are selective and limit use of this chemical. Spraying does not take place near water courses or wetlands. The total number of trees treated may be less than 5,000 trees depending on site conditions. The Longs Peak Campground will remain chemical free for this year.

Rocky Mountain National Park is just one relatively small area where trees are dying from the beetle epidemic. Because the task is enormous, the park’s priorities for mitigation of the effects of beetles are focused on removing hazard trees and hazard fuels related to the protection of life and property. For several years, Rocky Mountain National Park has had a proactive bark beetle management program. In 2009, the park will continue its mitigation efforts, including spraying, removal of hazard trees, prescribed burns, utilizing the air curtain burner and implementing temporary closures in a variety of park locations.

Beetle mitigation work continues at Glacier Basin Campground and Timber Creek Campground as well as specific backcountry campsites. Most trees in Timber Creek Campground have been killed by the mountain pine beetle epidemic. Clearing is taking place in both campgrounds. Glacier Basin Campground is expected to be open by Memorial Day with first come, first served sites. Timber Creek Campground is expected to open by mid June.

For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please contact the park’s information office at (970) 586-1206.

Did You Know?

a graphic of the Rocky Mountain Nature Association logo, a bighorn ram

RMNA has helped Rocky complete more than 40 projects valued at $10 million since 1986. They include the McGraw Ranch, the Fall River Visitor Center, and the Storm Mountain Pass trail. More...