Doug Young wants to help Summit County find the resources to grow a new forest
A full house enjoys the forum. Our Future Summit hosts issue driven meetings on the second Thursday of each month.
Sloane Shoemaker asks the community to consider all of its options.
The audience is a big contributor to Our Future Summit Forums
After The Pine Beetle: Summit Counties Changing Landscape
September 14, 2006
Community and Senior Center
On Thursday September 14, 2006 Our Future Summit held a forum comcerning the future of the local forest after the pine beetle infestation has run its course. Howard Hallman, the founder and president of the local grassroots non profit, began the evening by introducing the panel. Howard pointed out that recent projections indicate that 90% of all lodgepole pines in the county will be lost in the next few years to pine beetles and other diseases. Since the infestation has grown beyond historical proportions is it time to start planning how the next forest will look?
Brad Peihl is a partner with Breckenridge-based JW Associates, an environmental consulting company. He is a forester and hydrologist with broad experience managing landscape-scale projects for a variety of clients and stakeholder groups.
How the forest looks is my passion, Piehl remarked. This is a call to action we need to do something with the landscape, sustainable ecological scientific, we can have what we want and make it work with our community. Pine beetle has raised the flag that we need to do something.
Sloan Shoemaker is the Executive Director of the Wilderness Workshop, a position he was promoted to after 6 years as the organization's Conservation Director. Sloane stressed that in our capacity as humans in our need to do something we need to be careful of what we do. This is not an emergency but a necessary part of the forestís life. We need to be careful how we balance ecological values versus social concerns. After protecting invaluable infrastructure and private property, we should allow the forest to die and become reborn as it will do naturally. Trying to engineer solutions may cause additional disruptions in the forests natural growth.
Deputy Regional Forester for Resources in the Rocky Mountain Region, Richard Stern believes that human disruptions going back to the mining era 100 years ago are partly responsible for problems encountered today. By using treatments to encourage the growth of Aspen, Ponderosa Pines, and Fir trees we can add more diversity to the forest and make it more resilient to bugs and disease. Stern also believes that proper forest management techniques can add to the forests value and provide resources for forest conservation.
Young, District Policy Director for Colorado Congressman Mark Udall,
primarily works on environmental and natural resources issues in the
Congressman's district office in Westminster.
Doug responded that he is happy to leave the decisions and planning to the scientists. His role as a representative of a congressman is to help find resources for whatever the community decides and to insure that the rules and regulations help to make the process easier.
The audience during the fully packed forum had a variety of questions including:
How did the forest become all lodgepole? What do you think we should use the money for that has been appropriated to fight the pine beetle? What are we going to with the infected trees? Can we have a forest that pleases everybody? What are the economic dangers and opportunities to grow out of this event? How can we limit the effects of fire and infestation on the watershed?
The panel provided answers to the question as the discussion grew. The general consensus to emerge is that there is nothing we can do but let the infestation run its course. We must protects property, and infrastructure, and prepare for a changing landscape. Much of the county is part of the national forest and will be left to its own to die and reforest. In the wildland urban interface areas around the towns there might be some ways to provide for some diversity in species and age without damaging the historical values of this forest.
The next forum sponsored by Our Future Summit will be held Thursday October 12th at the Community and Senior Center in the County Commons un Frisco at 7 pm. The topic will be about Mental Health Issues facing Summit County.
Our Future Summit Founder Howard Hallman
introduces the panel and frames the discussion
Landscape Planner Brad Pheil believes we can have a diverse forest plan.
Comments and questions can be directed to:
Howard Hallman, PO Box 209, Frisco, CO 80443
970-468-9134 or email@example.com