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Old 10-11-2011, 04:26 PM
2,253 posts, read 6,015,442 times
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Even if there is a dedicated thread on this issue elsewhere in the Colorado forum, the degree of dead trees in a region, and future prognosis, would surely be of interest to many prospective home owners.

Thus I'll add by way of general thoughts that north central Colorado appears most severely affected by the unnatural spread of the mountain pine beetle reaching from New Mexico to well into Canada. Summit County is one of the areas more heavily affected, with in cases entire mountainsides with nearly all trees dead. But it is variable, both from one mountain aspect to another, and in areas of fairly close proximity.

There may be some hope as well, as in areas earliest affected the degree of loss not now as obvious, as in most of the trees long dead and having dropped their obvious rust-brown needles. Areas along the front range have not yet suffered the same percentage of affected trees, but it can seem more severe as trees only lately dead quite obvious with their needles still intact. Since there appear few trees lately dead in places such as Grand and Summit counties, with still at least a number of trees apparently healthy and green, maybe the worst of this has run its course in such areas, and certainly in some places and pockets a fair number of survivors.

The Vail area is not decimated, although anyone having familiarity with the area for any length of time will appreciate the difference now.

I'll also add that Governor Hickenlooper signed a bill encouraging the use of these trees as forest products, such as fuel pellets. Within reason such practices can make good sense, but one must be careful. Towns such as Frisco have been proactive in thinning dead trees throughout its domain. Possibly a wise precaution, although in places the result can present a very sad sight. BUT there are those such as the US Forest Service, even National Park Service, who use such a disaster to their own ends, and even end up cutting down many healthy live trees in the process.

One must also consider that as all recycles, from dust to dust, that these many dead trees represent a huge storage of nutrients yet to return to the soil. As strange as it might seem the sub-alpine regions of Colorado are in some respects not dissimilar to tropical jungles, where most of the nutrients are not in the ground but held within the vegetation. If in areas these forests of dead trees removed towards commerce it could deplete nutrients in regions which experience slow growth as it is, and do not need any further help towards imbalance from mankind.

Management is often spoken of by various authorities, and will find agencies such as the US Forest Service out 'thinning' areas of live trees when the better environmental practice would be to leave all alone, or at most remove a few hazardous trees when actually dead. But any notion of management as in curing this problem is disingenuous, because as far as stopping the spread of the mountain pine beetle neither 'thinning' or anything else will be the least effective. Home owners or towns can have some luck in saving a few select trees by spraying them annually with toxic chemicals, but for our forests what has been set in motion must play itself out. In also knowing that it might be one type of bug today, but some other type of disease tomorrow as long as these trees are stressed.

The best help we can provide would be as a civilization to reassess our priorities, and do our best to return this quickly changing climate back towards the precipitation and temperatures that these trees like.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:33 AM
Location: Northern MN
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I hope that is sarcasm?

The Vail valley is much wider and expansive than at C.B..

The MTN bike trails weave in and out of the aspen (shown in the pics) (I've biked them many times)

CB has trails, trees and hills at the edge of town It even has a river going threw town like vail does. MT.CB is built on the side of the MTn.

As my pics show just the opposite.

ps a pic of the Vail Vally with the highway running throw town.
Nothing says ski town like a highway.

Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
The feeling I get when I'm in CB is open, exposed. I've hiked around there and it's out in the open. Whereas in Vail, for example, I can hike right in town and be in the woods. Look at the aerial photos I posted: you can clearly see the lack of shrubbery there in the town of CB.
Attached Thumbnails
Moving to Colorado - Crested Butte, Vail, Telluride or Breckenridge?-vail-vally2.jpg  

Last edited by snofarmer; 10-12-2011 at 07:43 AM..
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:52 AM
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,775,294 times
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Living in the high country means that there will be parts will not have trees. But that's not the same thing as alpine tundra/bare rock. In all these places, you can find lots of trees to hike/bike/camp. The town of Vail does sit at a lower elevation (8,000') than Breck (9,600') or Crested Butte (8,900').

Here are some personal examples...

Vail (near Game Creek): you can see the foreground is bare of trees completely, but it is definitely not above treeline, nor is it bare rock.

Vail (backside): bare patches below treeline.

North side of Vail Pass: lots of trees, but also bare patches:

The in-town view from Crested Butte:

Brush Creek trail outside CB (somewhere between 9,500 - 9,800 feet):

View from Kebler Pass outside CB (~10,000 feet; the trees in the distance are higher up):

View from near Beckwith Pass outside CB (~9,800 feet):

Breck from Boreas Pass Road:
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Old 10-14-2011, 05:57 PM
3 posts, read 18,971 times
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Wow! Thanks for all the great info. You guys are definitely selling me on CB. I can't wait to check out everything for myself. Thanks again!
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