Carbondale man on new state forest panel |

Carbondale man on new state forest panel

CARBONDALE ” Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has named Ken Neubecker, a Carbondale resident and vice president of Colorado Trout Unlimited, to a newly created state group called the Colorado Forest Health Advisory Council.

The multi-agency group will help “coordinate and lead efforts to address the mountain pine beetle epidemic” and other threats to forest lands in Colorado, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

“Colorado’s forests are vital to our environment, to our communities, to our economy and to our overall quality of life,” Ritter said in a prepared statement. “But our forests are at risk, and one of the biggest risks is the mountain pine beetle. This epidemic has decimated more than 1.5 million acres of mature lodge-pole pines over the past decade and could wipe them out in another three to five years.”

The council will develop a short-term action plan and will address many issues, including the implementation of priorities identified in community wildfire protection plans, methods to encourage establishment of forest improvement districts, and implementation of landscape-scale stewardship projects. The council will also establish long-term strategies for sustainable forest health that will address a “statewide vision to protect communities from fire and restore forest health,” according to the governor’s statement.

The council will report back to the governor and the legislature annually. If recommendations require legislative action, those recommendations will be submitted by Oct. 1 prior to the January start of the legislative session, according to the statement.

Harris Sherman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and Jeff Jahnke, state forester and director of the Colorado State Forest Service, will co-chair the council.

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