U.S. Rep. John Salazar, left, points toward the Burgess Creek logging site as he discusses efforts to remove beetle-killed pine trees in Steamboat Springs with district forester John Twitchell on Monday. Salazar was impressed by the scope and pace of the logging operations.

Photo by Scott Franz

U.S. Rep. John Salazar, left, points toward the Burgess Creek logging site as he discusses efforts to remove beetle-killed pine trees in Steamboat Springs with district forester John Twitchell on Monday. Salazar was impressed by the scope and pace of the logging operations.

Rep. Salazar impressed by logging in Steamboat

Congressman sees beetle-killed tree removal efforts firsthand

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U.S. Rep. John Salazar, left, tours the Burgess Creek logging site with Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Chief Ron Lindroth, center, and district forester for the Colorado State Forest Service John Twitchell.

— U.S. Rep. John Salazar had several questions Monday as he pointed toward recent logging operations that removed beetle-killed trees from the Burgess Creek area.

John Twitchell had answers.

Salazar is a Democrat from the San Luis Valley. He asked Twitchell, a district forester for the Colorado State Forest Service, whether he thought the mountain pine beetle epidemic was slowing down in Steamboat Springs.

“Yes, I do,” Twitchell said. “They’re eating themselves out of lodge and home.”

Salazar joined Twitchell, Ste­­am­boat Springs Fire Rescue Chief Ron Lindroth, Routt County Emergency Management Director Bob Struble, and other members of the state Forest Service on a tour of the recent logging operations in the Burgess Creek watershed. The Forest Service staff pointed out the evolution of the logging efforts, including the new pine trees that were starting to grow in previously logged areas.

“Here, you can see the whole picture,” Twitchell said.

Lindroth said they chose Burgess Creek as the site to show Salazar because it represented a collaboration of several groups including private landowners, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and the U.S. Forest Service.

“The biggest success was getting the entities to agree to work together,” Lindroth said. “It was a great collaboration.”

Salazar saw firsthand the result of the operations that were partly funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He was impressed by the pace and magnitude of recent efforts in Steamboat to remove the beetle-infested pine trees.

“A lot of times public officials are criticized because the public thinks money is being thrown away,” he said. “But you look at projects like this, and you see how useful the funding has been.”

While at the logging sites, Salazar discussed future operations to remove the beetle-killed trees with Twitchell, who reminded the congressman that the issue still is very emotional for Steamboat residents and visitors.

“It’s a devastating, emotional thing,” Twitchell said. “You have people coming to visit their favorite national park, and they ask why you had to cut the trees. We tell them we had to.”

Twitchell and Lindroth hope the removal of beetle-killed pine trees continues to be a priority for state and national politicians.

“The fact that he took the time with all the other issues he’s facing says a lot,” Lindroth said. “It keeps the issue in the forefront. Something like this could easily get swallowed by health care or other national issues.”

“We hope he will be back,” Twitchell added.

Comments

exduffer 4 years, 1 month ago

It is good to see that he did tour this, something that really matters to the people. Do I hear any criticism from the right?

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seeuski 4 years, 1 month ago

It's campaign time here in the Boat. I met John Salazar and he looked me in the eyes while in a handshake and promised he would not vote for a health care bill that centralizes our personal medical data with a Government agency. Well he lied, we now know that the IRS is going to be doing just that. We will have to file with the IRS every year while we prove to them that we have purchased a Government approved policy. But don't worry, Bob McConnell will be reliable in his promises once he takes over Salazar's seat this Fall.

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exduffer 4 years, 1 month ago

Bless you see. It shows that no good deed should be left unpunished.

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kathy foos 4 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Salazar,being the mother of a teen killed in the Flattop Wilderness area,I ask if you have seen the video put out by the CSB.com April 13,2010 called " No place to hang out",about the unsigned,unfenced oil industry facilitys inland that need to be updated and regulated by the MMS,to stop more teens being killed in this type of explosion.The well that my son was killed on still sits broken down(dangerous in itself)up in the forest,just like it sat broken down June 23,2007 when my son Sam Hedemark was killed,this is in a hunting,biking 4 wheeling fishing you name it area,with no signs and fences?There are more broke old 1950s wells sitting around the state,can they possibly be brought up to date please?Is that asking too much?Signs and fences.Even our own crappy MMS says to do that,how about it in your own state? Im not going to stop complaining everywhere I can think of untill you DO SOMETHING!Please look at this story in the Enviormental News Service,"Oklahoma Oil Site Where Explosion killed a man,was unsecure.People want to drill more in Colorado,make it safe and an oil industry to be proud of.Also make sure the gas fracking that you want to do is safe for the water table first,and tell what chemical it is that they pump in there,it isnt just water.Forest service make sure you make the forest safe from these old decrepid wells.

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kathy foos 4 years, 1 month ago

Also please check out the change.org site"Inland oil safety reform"Please sign the petition,I would consider it a great thing to have your signature on this.Im not asking you to stop oil expansion,just saying dont even think about it untill you can prove to people like me that you can require fences and signs on these facilitys.Thats the bottom line.How can you expect to sell more of a product when you cant even store it properly?The Industry is policing itself,its time to stop that , While you are fixing the MMS dont forget about the teenagers and young adults dead from this problem,One source stated the number at 76,and growing all the time.If you would have done something in 2007 when Sam died ,there would be at least two more sixteen year old Mississippi youths alive and the Oklahoma man ,who is next?Sign and fence oil facilitys at least as well as you would a swimming pool.Make provisions for oil well dismantle when outdated,make owners and operators have the cash in escrow to shut down their operation,protect the enviroment in case of accident, and maintain it before they start work.Complete public disclosure of incidents and their investigations would also be nice.

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kathy foos 4 years, 1 month ago

What if that explosion and fire, in the Flattops Wilderness area in 2007,would have resulted in a forest fire that burned the beetle kill up at that point?There are still more wells in operation in the area, are they safe from causing a mass burning of the beetle kill? Are the berms big enough to hold the required amount if the fuels spill out ,now?They sure were not at the time of this explosion in 2007 and it was only luck that kept oil from going down stream.Lets update the stuff we have already.What about the impact of the explosion to the fire department and emergency workers.They had to deal with an incident that occured in another county,and we have no say from Routt County what happens in the forest (our back yard),,its our youths going there and we have no jurisdiction?We may only pick up the bodys,no one ever got charged for giving my son alcohol,too hard to prove ,the CBI said.No one cares to find out anything,just blame the dead kids,they were wrong,but so was a BUNCH of other stuff.Bottom line in my mind is,if the facility would have been signed and fenced off none of the kids would have been there or been killed.That is the truth.

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