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Mountain Pine Beetle is Still a Threat in Bitterroot

beetle killed trees
Damage from Mountain Pine Beetle. (USFS File Photo)
The devastating Mountain Pine Beetle infestation is still being felt in the Bitterroot National Forest.

Montana Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division Pest Management Specialist Amy Gannon said that the most active outbreaks are in the Big Hole area of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National and in the southern part of the Bitterroot National Forest.

In a meeting with the Board of Land Commissioners recently, she said that over 500,000 acres of trees were still infested, as of 2013. She said that about a quarter of the state’s federal, state and private forest land has been affected.

Meanwhile, the Bitterroot National Forest is accepting comments on a management project on the Stevensville Ranger District. The 75-acre project is scheduled for near year in the Mill Creek and Tag Alder Creek drainages south of the Mill Creek Trailhead.

Beetle infested trees would be removed and non-commercial thinning would reduce tree densities, which helps trees in the battle against the beetles. There would be a half mile of temporary road construction, according to Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest.

Comments are being accepted until August 8 and Stevensville District Ranger Dan Ritter will accept the comments at 88 Main Street in Stevensville. Nate Barber has more information at (406) 821-3913.

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