December 21, 2011
Those of us involved with the Spearfish Canyon Foundation are passionate about doing everything possible to slow or stop the spread of the mountain pine beetles already in the area. In recent months, the topic of the pine beetles has become common in conversations among local residents.
As one of the most vocal organizations in the fight to save the Spearfish Canyon area from total deforestation, we often get approached with questions about this pest that is turning the forest so brown. One of the most common questions that we hear is, “Why can’t the brown trees just be cut down? Won’t that solve the problem?”
The unfortunate answer is, “No.” Cutting the brown trees that you see throughout the Black Hills might make the forest more visibly appealing, but it will not fix the problem.
For those brown trees, it is already too late. The beetles have already done their damage and spread to neighboring green trees. The green trees are where the destruction is currently happening. From a distance, it’s nearly impossible to tell that a green tree is already under attack from the beetles.
It is precisely this reason why we are so adamant about fighting the beetle epidemic in and around Spearfish Canyon – because it is still green. It still has the opportunity to be saved. For many other parts of the Black Hills, the battle is already lost.