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Local students assess the forest health and impacts of the mountain pine beetle at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Final Mount Rushmore Mountain Pine Beetle Action Plan

In response to the current Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, Mount Rushmore National Memorial has finalized an action plan that addresses the presence of mountain pine beetle in the Memorial. A National Park Service (NPS) Rapid Resource Assessment Team (RRAT) assessed the situation at the Memorial and worked with area specialists and agencies to develop a plan that would protect the memorial from wild fire, and would slow, and hopefully mitigate the spread of the pine beetle, while protecting some of the old growth forest of the memorial.

The plan recommends an immediate response to the current insect outbreak in order to take action prior to this year's summer flight of pine beetle. The plan prescribes thinning the forest to a prescription consistent with the memorial's Fire Management Plan, protecting high value scenic vista trees, applying low intensity prescribed fire, and treating green infested trees to contain the spread of the insect, and make the memorial more fire resistant.

Public comments spanned a range of suggestions including take no action, and thin most of the large trees of the forest. The final plan strikes a balance between these two extremes.
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