We were just there last week and the entire Black Hills area has been hit hard.
We spend a week or so in Custer State Park every year and this is the worst we have seen! They are doing a lot of cutting down, and massive piles of infected trees are laying all over. They just haven't burned the piles yet. It breaks your heart to see our beautiful areas like that and Northern Colorado get decimated by the beetle.
Over winter CSP foresters identified and removed 149,000 trees infected with MPB.
In the 73,000 acre park this represents a small percentage, and will save ten times that many this year. While you will see areas logged over, the vast majority of the park is untouched and the efforts by the park are attempting to return it to its historical appearance, the natural state.
The Black Hills forest is vastly overgrown from its historical ,natural growth and this is one of several prime factors that has laid a smorgasbord out for the bugs.
If you look at the photos or read the reports of Custers 1874 expedition to the Hills you will see how human intervention has invited this problem. There are several times as much timber in the Hills today as there was then.
Dead bug trees are how Deadwood got its name!
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edited 06/09/12 05:09pm by SDcampowneroperator *
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We were in Custer about 3 weeks ago. Still a gorgeous area. You could see large patches of brown trees on distant hillsides, and a lot of selective thinning/tree removal within the park. The CSP staff deserves a LOT of credit for working this hard on this problem. Most notable along the Needles Hwy - but certainly not enough to detract from the beauty of the area. ST
Two and a hound in a 2003 Roadtrek 190P and a pair of Limmers... First 50 done, working on the second pass!
Sorry, but that's about as far from reality as it gets. There are vast swaths of damage visible, and a real aggressive plan underway to deal with it. That said, it does little to detract from a great experience.