Release Date: Jan 11, 2011   U.S Forest Service and Wyoming State Forestry Division

Contact(s): U.S Forest Service, Janelle Smith, 303-275-5359 or 720-289-7587 Wyoming State Forestry Division, Cathy Lujan, 307-777-8510


CHEYENNE, Wyo., Jan. 11, 2011The US Forest Service and Wyoming State Forestry Division today addressed the Wyoming State Legislature where they announced the results of the annual aerial survey for Wyoming.  The most significant forest health concern continues to be the spread of mountain pine beetle activity.  An additional 314,000 acres of tree mortality were detected in 2010 across the state.  This brings the total number of acres of infestation to 3.1 million in Wyoming since the first signs of outbreak in 1996.


“Mitigating the impacts of the bark beetle epidemic continues to be the highest priority for the Forest Service,” said Tony Dixon, Acting Regional Forester, US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region.  “We are working aggressively to reduce the risk of falling trees to the public and forest workers, continuing to search for innovative ideas for the use of beetle-killed trees, and planning for future forest landscapes.”


National forests across the state are focused on removing dead trees along roads, trails and around recreation sites, as well as removing hazardous fuels within the wildland urban interface.  In addition, forests are doing the prep work necessary to continue this effort in 2011 as soon as areas are clear of snow.  “All of this work helps reduce the risk of falling trees and decreases fire danger to the public and forest workers,” said Dixon.


“Our actions today will drive forest conditions over the next one hundred years.  Our work with private landowners and on state lands is focused towards the vibrant resilient forests of the future,” said Bill Crapser, Wyoming State Forester.


Management of the forests is especially important over the next few decades to provide a mix of age classes and tree species.  Doing nothing would most likely result in several hundred thousand acres of the same age class of trees, setting the stage for another mass disturbance like the bark beetle epidemic.  Forest management can help provide healthy trees and a mosaic of age classes and species that is more resilient to insect epidemics.


Survey Highlights for Bark Beetle Epidemic across Wyoming for 2010

  • Medicine Bow-Routt National Forestexperienced a spread in the infestation north and east onto 63,000 new acres, especially in the Snowy Range; this includes a dramatic expansion in lower-elevation ponderosa pine trees. 
  • Shoshone National Forestexperienced a 69,000-acre increase in lodgepole and five-needle pine forests.
  • Bridger-Teton National Forestalso experienced a dramatic increase of 71,000 acres in lodgepole and five-needle pine forest types.
  • Black Hills National Forestin Wyoming and South Dakota experienced a 14,000-acre increase in bark beetle activity in ponderosa pine trees.

A complete survey result is included in the 2010 Forest Health Aerial Press Kit


U.S Forest Service Announces Results of Forest Health Survey in the Black Hills

Key Contacts

Lawrence Lujan, 303-275-5346