Park Service officials with the Black Hills National Forest are signing a post-Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic management plan to prevent future infestation and fuel loads for potential fires.
Forest Supervisor Mark Van Every says the goal is to get the forest back in balance.
“In terms of the vegetation in particular,” Van Every says. “So, if you look as you drive around the forest, a lot of areas were impacted by the Mountain Pine Beetle or by large wildfires. That’s changed the landscape. We have objectives in our forest management plan of what percentage of the forest we want in different—what we call structural stages—which is age and density of trees, essentially.”
The Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project decision includes reducing hazardous fuels, implementing more proscribed burns and non-commercial thinning.
Van Every’s decision allows project implementation to begin and continue over several years.
The Norbeck Society is concerned about the decision. During a public comment period, the group issued a concern saying the planned activities will have an opposite effect and damage forest health.