Logging at Empire to start | TheUnion.com

Logging at Empire to start

A logging contractor should start removing bark beetle infested trees this week from Empire Mine State Historic Park, prompting temporary trail closures.

Thanks to dry conditions last year, beetle infestation is worse than it’s been in decades, park officials say.

They’ve identified about 100 trees for removal to prevent beetles from spreading elsewhere in the 800-acre park or onto adjoining private parcels.

About half of those are small trees, said Pete Montgomery, assistant state park resource ecologist. “There’s a whole bunch of little, bitty (trees)” that need removal, he said.

The logging contractor had hoped to begin work today, but due to Monday’s wet weather, the project start date was moved to Wednesday or Thursday.

The first day’s work should begin in the Union Hill area. Trail closures will be posted at trailheads.

Slash, or debris left over from logging, can harbor bark beetles. It will be heaped into one big pile on open, rocky ground downhill from the main mine shaft and burned.

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