Fitz-Gerald to headline Frisco forum on forest health funding July 12


Colorado senate president Joan Fitz-Gerald will headline a distinguished panel at a community forum on forest health funding Thursday, July 12th at the Summit County Community & Senior Center near Frisco. 

 With more than 81,000 of Summit Countyís 413,000 total acres likely to be adversely affected by the pine beetle epidemic, the 7:00 pm forum will address the current state of forest health project funding by federal, state and local government, the number and location of wildfire mitigation projects in Summit County under US Forest Service contract; and the latest initiatives from private industry to find a local markets for the large quantities of beetle-killed timber accumulating here and in neighboring counties. 

 Senator Fitz-Gerald, who also represents Summit County as part of her district  in the Colorado Assembly, co-sponsored a number of forest health bills this past legislative session, including House Bill 07- 1130, the Colorado Forest Restoration Act, with state representative Dan Gibbs (D-Silverthorne) and House Bill 07-1168, the Colorado Forest Improvement District Act, with state representative Al White (R-Winter Park).

 Joining Sen. Fitz-Gerald on the panel will be:

  • Trudy Kareus, U.S. Senator Ken Salazarís regional director for the Western Slope and I-70 corridor;

  • Paul Orbuch, assistant director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources;

  • Mark Mathis, president, Confluence Energy LLC, which is building a $10 million plant in Kemmling that will use beetle kill material from area forests to produce wood pellets for home and commercial heating;

  • Joe Duda, forest management division supervisor at the Colorado State Forest Service, who will serve as grants administrator for the $1 million in state funds authorized under House Bill 1130 for forest improvement projects located in areas covered by the countyís Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

Anyone with an interest in Summit Countyís future forest landscape is encouraged to attend the event, which is being sponsored by Our Future Summit.

For additional information about the forum or its sponsor, please contact Sandy Briggs at 970-418-0025 or at 


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Comments and questions can be directed to:

 Howard Hallman, PO Box 209, Frisco, CO 80443

970-468-9134 or