The U.S. Forest Service is removing dead and dying Douglas-fir trees, killed by bark beetles and spruce budworm, at the Birch Creek Center near the historic Civilian Conservation Corps camp north of Dillon.
The weakened trees pose a safety risk to visitors of the Birch Creek Outdoor Education and Conference Center, operated by the University of Montana-Western, according a news release. Winter work has begun at the Birch Creek Center, removing hazard trees from 130 acres near the camp.
To ensure public safety during logging operations, a timber sale area closure will be in effect. The area will reopen late winter when logging is completed.
The hazard tree removal is being done by Lorango and Sons Logging, under contract with the Forest Service. The project is authorized by the 2009 Forest-Wide Developed Site Hazard Tree Removal Project. More information on the Birch Creek CCC Camp is available from the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest website and the University of Montana-Western.
District Ranger Scot Shuler said the logging will benefit the area.
“By removing the dead and dying trees in this high-use area, we can provide a much safer environment for visitors and students using the trails at the Birch Creek Center. In addition, by leaving the larger, healthy trees, we can restore more open-forest conditions that existed when the camp was built and used by the CCC. Removing high fuel loads could also help protect the Center from wildfire,” Shuler said through the release.