Some campgrounds around Glenwood closed due to dead trees
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” White River National Forest officials announced Tuesday that at least six campgrounds may have delayed openings this summer season and three campgrounds could potentially be closed all summer long.
The reason stated for the closures is the potential danger of dead trees killed by the current mountain pine beetle infestation, falling in campgrounds causing damage or personal injury to visitors.
“Safety of our visitors is always the number one concern of the WRNF,” a statement from the WRNF read.
In total, nine of the 57 campgrounds within the WRNF will be affected by the closures. Delayed openings on the Dillion Ranger District include Peak One, Pine Cove and Windy Point Group site. Also included are Gold Park Campground on the Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District and Chapman Group Campgrounds on the Aspen and Sopris Ranger Districts. A delayed opening is also likely at Sapphire Point on the Dillion Ranger District.
Season-long closures will occur at Prospector, Lowry and Blue River campgrounds on the Dillion Ranger District. They are in effect due to the vast extent of the beetle infestation and a limited umber of contractors and Forest Service resources available.
“We are very concerned with the public’s safety when it comes to the danger posed by these dead trees, especially to those visitors staying in our campgrounds. But I also want people to know that we are doing everything we can to mitigate the problem and get our campgrounds open as soon as possible,” said acting forest supervisor Cal Wettstein.
Wettstein said that work is already underway while snow is still on the ground and that several options for getting the trees cut and removed, including using experienced prison fire crews, are being explored.
A number of forest campgrounds have already had hazardous trees removed, the most prominent of which is Heaton Bay in the Dillion area, which is expected to be open by summer.
However, forest recreation program manager Rich Doak said the beetle problem will likely continue to spread and for visitors to be careful when recreating in areas where trees have been killed.
“Be aware of your surroundings and wind conditions,” Doak said.
For more information about where to camp call 970-468-5400. For additional information on the bark beetle go to http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/bark-beetle.
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