Warning! Danger! The Trees are Dying!
This photo is of the Colorado River headwaters as it pours out of the Rocky Mountains, just south and west of the Rocky Mountain National Park. It was taken in the summer of 2005. It's a beautiful scene, but if you look closely, you notice the dead trees.
The trees are Lodge Pole pine trees that have been infected with the Pine Bark Beetle. These little pests are destroying all the trees in the Rocky Mountains. And they are moving to destroy what's left. Very large swaths of the trees across the mountains are dead and brown. When the beetles are done with the trees, the very dead, dry branches hang down, as evidenced by the trees on the left in the foreground. They look so sad with the dead drooping branches, like they cried themselves to death.
It's been impossible to stop these bugs. Many people have their trees sprayed with insecticides, but that only slows the beetles down; it doesn't kill them. And the dead trees are, of course, a fire hazzard, and must be taken down.
In this photo, taken a couple of years later, the dead trees appear gray. The brown trees from the previous photo, will turn gray with time.
This is an upclose view of the damage the bettles can cause. The yellow trees are Aspens turning in the fall. And just this week, I heard that the Aspen trees are beginning to die off. They have a 20 year live span and many are just dying.
We, as a state, national, and as a global community, have lost a great deal to these beetles. The trees are a large part of the eco system. They add oxygen to the air, and filter out harmful particles. The face of the Rocky Mountains have changed, and will not be the same in my life time. The loss of the beautiful trees that make the Rockies so remarkable have changed the face of the mountains, permanently.
The positive note to all of this is that the Forestry Services tells us that the die off of all these trees will produce a more diverse vegetation, and help to protect the forest against the beetles next invasion.
Marianne Snygg, GRI, ABR, ASP
ERA Herman Group Real Estate
Colorado Springs and Monument Real Estate