Saturday, March 24, 2007

Beetle Kill in Gold Country

What is beetle kill in gold country? Any of you who travel to Colorado have noticed the pine trees turning reddish and then brown and then grey. Most of you are probably aware that it is caused by pine beetle that burrow under the bark of the trees and kill them by "ringing" them, thus cutting off the tree's system it uses to get water and nutrients to all of its' parts. Thus, beetle kill in gold country. There is an article in today's paper that says up to 90% of the trees in Summit and Grand counties are infected and will die, and that the infestation encompasses at least 1,000 square MILES of forest. This tragedy is due to overzealous environmentalism, which hinders and prohibits the husbandry management of forests. Environmentalists do not seem to be interested in preserving what we have, but allowing mother nature to "take her course". Well, believe me, mother nature could give a RIP about what species lives or dies. Only man cares. Only man can protect what is here, and only through careful MANAGEMENT can that happen. Mother Nature has destroyed these forests which will take decades to replace. Careful logging and management of the forests would have preserved them. Instead of using wisely what we have, environmentalists have WASTED entire forests to neglect and non management, but then I suppose fire IS better. The Haman fire we had a few years ago attests to that. I am sure no one was bothered by the smoke, and the animals that died in it were better off. Yes, it was started by man, but the conditions that existed were also created by man. What does this have to do with gold prospecting? We work in the natural environment, educate the public to responsibility, and teach how to properly engage in activities that might be seen as destructive, to be done in positive ways. Fish love us! We provide new, freshly turned spawning beds when we dredge responsibly in rivers. Gold panning, sluicing, dry washing, and metal detecting get us out in nature where we can experience and connect with it. To watch the destruction of the forests in my state is heartbreaking and irresponsible of our government. All the prospectors,large and small, put together have not damaged the number of acres that this trend in environmentalism has. 1,000 acres in two counties. This number does not encompass the entire state, which has also seen the devastation of the forests. Drive up Clear Creek from Denver and see what I mean. All those trees that are dying have already infected 5 or 6 more, and this June, those trees will infect 5 or 6 more. One thing that is certain. The beetles will eventually stop spreading. They do tend to literally eat themselves out of house and home without management, and even the U.S. Forest Service agrees that it is too late to stop the complete destruction of the forest in some areas. So what is going on now to clear the dead trees? Clear cut logging.
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