2008-07-27

Our View: Pine beetle epidemic devastating

Our pine forests are under attack, and they are dying.

Most of us who live in Routt County have watched the transformation of our hillsides as pine trees turn from green to red. Soon, they will be gray, and only time will tell what will replace them.

We’re not alone. Mountain pine beetles are feasting on forests across the state and throughout the Rocky Mountain West, spreading as far north as British Columbia. Scientists studying the epidemic say it shouldn’t be dismissed as simply the latest iteration of a cyclical natural phenomena. No, they say, the pine beetle epidemic is unprecedented in its scope. And man is at least partially to blame.