Our forests are undergoing a dramatic change, which presents a pressing issue for residents and visitors alike. Past decisions regarding forest management statewide have resulted in homogeneous forests that are more vulnerable to disease and pest infestations. In recent years, an infestation of mountain pine beetles in our lodgepole pines has occurred and is expected to result in a tree mortality rate exceeding 90%.
Our Town Council and the community as a whole is aware of the benefits provided by our forests - clean air, clean water, diverse habitat, thriving recreation-based economies, and quality of life. This awareness motivated them to take a pro-active role early on. The Town began assisting homeowners in 2004 in the marking and removal of infested trees on private and public property. A mill levy passed the same year by the voters raises about $185,000 annually for forest management.
In 2005 a Forester and crew were hired to assist in marking and removing infected trees from property within the town limits. This year the Town has hired an additional forestry crew in response to requests from homeowners.
We have a responsibility to protect our homes and properties by removing fuels and creating defensible spaces. The Town is working actively to aid homeowners in this task and encourages everyone to actively participate in the management of our forests.