The Mountain Pine Beetle has attacked trees all over the Mountain West, including Lost Trail Powder Mountain ski area at the south end of the Bitterroot Valley.
The Sula Ranger District is proposing to cut trees within the ski area that have been killed or attacked by the voracious insects.
About 250 acres of dead, dying and live trees in and directly next to the ski area would be harvested, near chairlifts 1, 2 and 3. About 175 acres would use a cable or "skyline" system to take the trees and about a half mile of track line machine trail and a quarter mile of road would be constructed. They would be rehabilitated at the end of the project, according to Sula District Ranger Ruth Wooding.
The project would help prevent beetles from spreading to other lodgepole pine in the immediate area and would take down dead trees that will be a hazard to skiers in the coming years.
Lost Trail Powder Mountain operates on 1,300 acres with a special Forest Service Permit. Comments on project are being accepted until January 3, 2012, by fax, written, oral or e-mail. Please refer to "Lost Trail Ski Area Salvage Project."
Public Affairs Officer Tod McKay has more information. His telephone is 406-363-7122. For more information on the project, check the Bitterroot National Forest website.