Silverthorne orders removal of another 2,270 beetle-killed trees
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
SILVERTHORNE, Colo. ” Property owners in Silverthorne, Colo. removed more than 2,000 dead or infected trees this year to reduce the spread of pine beetles and reduce fire danger. Another 2,270 trees have been tagged for removal by next June.
Some 235 private properties were affected by 2,129 dead or diseased trees identified in town this year, according to David Siderfin, Silverthorne’s community services officer.
Most property owners removed the problem trees without enforcement, though some needed warnings from the town.
“It all starts in September,” Siderfin said. “We employ a tree specialist to survey the town. They mark all the trees. They submit to us a list of where they found the trees. We notify all the residents that have pine beetles on their property … It’s quite time consuming. They have from the letter of notification to June 15 of next year to take the trees down.”
The town cut and removed more than 1,000 trees from town properties at a cost of $95,315.
The most recent townwide tree survey identified 322 properties with 2,270 beetle-infested or dead trees which will need to be removed by next June 15.
“I try and work with the residents if they’re having a hard time getting tree companies to come out,” Siderfin said. “A lot of people do have trouble getting tree companies. I want to work together with residents. We did have to set some court dates up, but all the property owners came into compliance.”
Silverthorne also collected 7,000 cubic yards of chips and slash. The 70 semi-truck loads of material were hauled to Climax Mine outside of Leadville to be used for soil conservation.
Slash-site operation expenses totaled $22,000 in 2008. User fees totaled $11,500, bringing the town’s site operating expenses to $10,500.
“The town just wants to do something to help the residents,” Siderfin said. “To help the residents, we decided to come up with the slash site so the town was bearing some of the accounts.”
The town-run slash site was open on weekdays, May through August, and was kept open on a few scheduled Saturdays by demand.
“We kept it open a bit longer than we were originally going to because people were still taking down trees,” Siderfin added. “It seems to work really well. It saved people from going all the way to landfill.”
The town hopes to continue its slash site in 2009.
“It was hard work during the summer, but I think we got there,” Siderfin said of beetle-kill removal. “It’s a challenge and an on-going problem. It’s not something that’s going to stop. The main thing now is fire mitigation. It’s a big worry for the whole county. It would be hard for some of the properties close to the national forest if fire hit. We’re trying to work with the Forest Service and the county.”
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