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Bark Beetle Management Plan

Rocky Mountain National Park » Bark Beetle Management Plan » Document List

Dear Reader:

Bark beetles, which are native species, have killed thousands of pine and spruce trees in Rocky Mountain National Park and surrounding forests. In July 2005 the National Park Service completed a Bark Beetle Management Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) to address the need to manage park resources that are affected by native bark beetles. The focus of the plan is to protect high value trees that provide shade, visual screening and enhance aesthetics near visitor centers, picnic areas, parking lots, employee housing and historic structures. The plan also includes strategies to manage beetle infested trees just inside the park boundary that pose a threat to healthy trees on adjacent private property. Elsewhere in the park the beetles will be allowed to reproduce and spread naturally since they are native species. The plan includes two alternatives and evaluates the potential effects of both.

The "No Action" alternative is the continuation of current bark beetle management activities within the park. This includes the removal of beetle killed trees that pose a hazard to humans or property, the removal of some trees containing live beetles to slow their spread, tree thinning to increase the vigor of remaining trees, and watering and removal of parasitic mistletoe to improve tree vigor and resistance to a bark beetle attack.

The "Preferred Alternative" includes all of the management techniques in the "No Action" alternative, and adds the use of an insecticide, which would be applied to the trunks of high value trees as a bark beetle repellant. This approach has been used effectively in other locations, such as the Araphaho National Recreation Area, to protect high value trees from bark beetle attacks. The plan proposes the treatment of up to 1,000 high value trees within the park each year until the current bark beetle infestation subsides.

The Bark Beetle Management Plan was approved by the National Park Service Intermountain Region Director in July 2005. The Preferred Alternative was selected for implementation.


Vaughn Baker

Contact Information

Larry Gamble
Chief, Branch of Planning & Compliance
Rocky Mountain National Park
Phone: (970) 586-1320