More than 5,600 ponderosa pine and limber pine trees are being planted mid-May in the Bellaire Lake, Dowdy Lake, and West Lake campgrounds on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest.
The trees being planted were grown from seeds collected within the vicinity of these recreation areas and were sown at the U.S. Forest Service’s Bessey Nursery in Nebraska. The Bessey Nursery is the oldest federal nursery and produces an average of 750,000 seedlings for vital restoration and conservation projects throughout the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service.
These trees are being planted to replace some of those lost to the mountain pine beetle epidemic. Many of these killed trees were removed from the Bellaire Lake Campground in January. At both Dowdy Lake and West Lake campgrounds, many older ponderosa pines have been preserved by spraying to avoid mountain pine beetle attacks. Planting at these sites provides a wide range of ages from young to old trees.
This planting is taking place by contractors with U.S. Forest Service oversight. Following planting, the new seedlings will be protected by fencing and netted tubes that surround each tree. An Eagle Scout project will also take place following the planting to install the protective nets, thanks to Troop 82. Forest visitors are asked to be careful to avoid these new trees to give them the best chance of survival. The trees will be watered periodically throughout the summer to assist in their success.
If the public is interested in planting trees for our future forest, then National Public Lands Day on the district is the place to be on Sept. 28, 2013. The Canyon Lakes Ranger District is currently planning the event to include more tree and shrub planting at Bellaire Lake Campground.