Over the last 5 years, there’s been a huge change to the eco-system around Steamboat Springs. This change is  most often referred to as those “red trees” by folks who don’t know that those trees are “dead trees”. They’ve been killed by the Mountain Pine Beetles  who don’t consume the wood like a termite, but instead live off the nutrients that flow just under the bark before their one year life cycle ends.

Once a tree is infested with the Mountain Pine Beetle, nothing can be done to save it.  To date about 3 million Colorado acres have been victim since the Beetle population exploded during the 1990’s. Beetle kill trees are a great forest fire risk and they pollute the air and streams. As the number of dead trees has increased, they are falling on roads, camping tents and power lines.

The Mountain Pine Beetle has already damaged parts of Wyoming and they are spreading to Washinton too. There’s no way to predict the exact direction and spread rate of the pine beetles. Prevention includes pesticide spraying as well as proactive forest management where older trees are removed and replaced by a lesser number of new trees.

Emergency funds from Washington help fund the removal of beetle kill wood and while some of it is burned, a portion of it is starting to be used in home construction. Builders and special interest groups  are looking for additional economic uses for the beetle kill wood. It’s been noted that Colorado imports about 95% of its lumber, so it might just be worth it to figure out how to use the wood from the dead trees right in our back yard.

Since the Mountain Pine Beetle has already done it’s share of damage in and around Steamboat Springs, you’ll see areas void of trees that have been removed already. Some of that removal has created new ski runs for those who don’t like the thrill of tree skiing. Lucky for us who do, there are still plenty of healthy trees and trees that are not vulnerable to beetle kill that we can glide through and around on those powder days that are so very close at hand now that winter is here.

—For more information on buying real estate or questions regarding Steamboat Springs real estate or renting a home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, feel free to call Charlie at 970-846-6435 or write me an email at: charlie@steamboatsmyhome.com