Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Since I left for the Ice last October, we hadn't been more than fifty
miles east of home. This morning we took off on a mini-roadtrip
to one of Lynn's favorite places. Brown Sheep Wool in Mitchell,
Nebraska. Not a long trip, but one that took us to quite different
scenery than we are used to here at home. A large bulk of the
trip took us through the mountains on Interstate 70. We were
shocked by how much beetle kill there has been on the pine
forests that cover much of the mountains.
According to an article in the Denver Post, 500 thousand acres
are being infested by the Pine Beetle each year. Although the
beetles are a natural part of the ecosystem process, the warm
winters and recent droughts have made the problem even worse.
Unfortunately, there's not way to stop the beetles and that areas
full of dead trees are susceptible to fires for the next 20 years.
However, nature has a tendency to recover and eventually new
seedlings will sprout and regenerate the forests. In the meantime,
it's not a pretty sight.