Pine beetles, the federal budget, forest fires and climate were topics at a press conference last week at the Forest Service office in Custer. Tom Tidwell, the Chief of the United States Forest Service, took part in a meeting during his first trip to the Black Hills. He made the stop in South Dakota at the request of U.S. Representative Kristi Noem who invited him to take a first-hand look at the many thousands of acres of pine trees killed by the on-going beetle infestation. After an aerial tour Tidwell sat down to a roundtable discussion with industry and interest groups plus local government officials. SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray attended the meeting and took excerpts from the press conference that followed.