Mountain Pine Beetle


In The Moment ... December 19, 2019 Show 723 Hour 2

Mark Van Every has spent nearly four decades in the forestry business. Since August of 2016, he's been the supervisor for the Black Hills National Forest. Since his arrival, he's dealt with mountain beetles, new recreation trails, and an extended fire season, among other challenges.

In The Moment ... January 19, 2018 Show 259 Hour 1

This weekend marks the annual Burning of the Beetle in Custer, where residents take out their environmental frustrations on the man-made carcass of an enormous, fireworks-filled bug.

Hank Fridell and Paul Horsted are with Custer's Burning Beetle committee.

Dakota Midday: New Black Hills Forest Supervisor Mark Van Every

Sep 29, 2016
Black Hills National Forest

The Black Hills National Forest has a new supervisor.  

Mark Van Every oversees everything on Forest Service land in the Black Hills from the effort to fight forest fires and pine beetles to efforts to ensure public access and protect public resources.

Van Every took the helm in the new position this summer.    He’s now had some time to settle into the job, and he sat down in the Rapid City studio with SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray.  Click play below to hear the interview.

Jerry Krueger / Black Hills National Forest

U.S. Forest Service officials want public input on a plan to make the Black Hills more resilient in the future.   

The goal of the Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project is to make the forest ready for a changing climate.  That includes challenges like the pine beetle epidemic and a potential for increased forest fires.

Forest service officials say much of the Black Hills has moved away from the desired conditions described in a Management Plan created 20 years ago.

Can South Dakota have a healthy tourism season if the forest appears unhealthy to visitors?

Dr. Ignatious Cahyanto joins Dakota Midday to discuss the latest research on the impact of the pine beetle infestation on the tourism business in South Dakota.

Dr. Cahyanto is assistant professor of tourism and hospitality at Black Hills State University.

Dakota Midday: Black Hills Metamorphosis

Oct 7, 2015

Tonight at 8:00 p.m. Central, SDPB-TV airs "Black Hills Metamorphosis."  The show looks at the explosion of Pine Beetles in the Black Hills and follows up on SDPB's 2010 production, "The Black Hills and the Mountain Pine Beetle."  SDPB-TV producer Brian Gevik and SDPB Radio news producer Charles Michael Ray visited with scientists and forestry experts for tonight's program.  They joined Dakota Midday guest host Joe Tlustos.

Bark Beetle Blues

On Saturday in Custer, a massive, 28-foot likeness of a pine beetle will be set on fire in a ceremonial response to the bug that’s ravaged forests in the Black Hills. This is the second year for the Burning Beetle. The event is part of the Bark Beetle Blues efforts using arts to discuss the pine beetle infestation.

The event begins at 3:30 pm at Custer High School with music and a video of last year’s Burning Beetle. Participants then march to Pageant Hill where the beetle is set on fire. At 6:30 pm, the Bug Crawl takes place in downtown Custer with live music at several venues.

Pacific Northwest Research Station

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) will host a free workshop on the identification and treatment of mountain pine beetles (MPB) in the Black Hills. The 2014 MPB flight has passed and the time to identify and treat this year’s infested trees is now.

Rapid City business owner Dave Johnson announced Wednesday his candidacy for the District 33 Senate seat now held by Phil Jensen. Johnson will challenge Jensen in the Republican primary election.
   As an arborist and owner of a tree service, Johnson says one of his primary concerns is funding to battle the mountain pine beetle infestation in the Black Hills.

South Dakota lawmakers want to continue efforts to fight Pine Beetles in the Black Hills. Republican State Representative Mike Verchio says this is an ongoing effort to resolve an issue in South Dakota.

"I don’t think many people realize, this is not just a blanket gift to people to go out and cut and chunk their trees. They have to kick in half the cost also and if we don’t continue this fight for at least another couple years, all that money that’s been spent, which is about 9 million dollars at this point, is going to be an absolute [and] total waste," Verchio says.

Beetle Bills Advance In Pierre

Feb 25, 2014

The State Senate is backing two measures to fund the fight against pine beetles in the Black Hills. Senate Bill 28 and Senate Bill 135 both add extra funding to the beetle suppression effort.  State Senator Jim Bradford spoke in favor of the measures on the Senate floor.    Bradford represents Pine Ridge.   He says he doesn’t normally support bills dealing with managing the Black Hills–but this case is different.

Tidwell In Black Hills Talks Beetles And Budgets

Nov 7, 2013

The Chief of the United States Forest Service took a tour of the Black Hills this week .  Tom Tidwell who oversees the federal agency got a first-hand view of the pine beetle infestation that has left behind hundreds of thousands of dead trees. 

Tidwell and Congresswoman Kristi Noem then took part in a roundtable discussion on the problem with local industry and government groups. 

SDPB's Charles Michael Ray attended the meeting and brought back this report.

Fighting Mountain Pine Beetles

Aug 26, 2013
Farm & Livestock Directory

Last week, Governor Dennis Daugaard announced that more than 240,000 acres have been surveyed for Mountain Pine Beetle infestations since the Black Hills Forest Initiative began two years ago.  As a result of the surveys, crews have "cut and chunked" or otherwise treated 335,000 trees on private and state land.  Almost 1,900 landowners have participated in the initiative's cost-share program.  The South Dakota Departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks have contracted with several Black Hills area conservation districts to hire an average of 50 seasonal employees to keep ahead of c

Andrew Smith, a private forester from Deadwood, and Bruce Weissman, Integrated Program Resource Manager at Mount Rushmore Memorial, talk about the tallest known Ponderosa pine tree in the Black Hills. It's been measured at 159 feet tall and is about 235 years old. But the tree has a few green branches mixed with some dead ones, leaving Smith concerned that the tree might not be around much longer. He's pushing for more protection for big trees in the Black Hills which are surrounded by strands infested by the Mountain Pine Beetle.