Beginning April 10, the Town of Vail will be using multiple contractors to remove dead and diseased trees along the town-owned Gore Creek streamtract between Ford Park and Vail Valley Drive in a concentrated effort to reduce the impacts of spruce beetle. The work is scheduled to be completed before the start of a new nesting season for broad-tailed hummingbirds and other native birds.
Crews will be working daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. cutting and hauling nearly 70 blue spruce trees along the town-owned property. The trees identified for removal, some as large as three feet in diameter, have been determined to be safety hazards for pedestrians and bicyclists or are currently infested with spruce beetle. Removal of these “brood” trees will eliminate the next cycle of spruce beetle. Many of the trees will be taken to a lumber mill to be reused.
The affected streamwalk area for this first phase of cutting will be closed to the public during work hours. No other impacts are anticipated and access to the back stairs at the nearby Wren at Vail will be maintained.
The project will be completed no later than April 27 and is the first phase of a multi-pronged effort to address hazardous trees in the streamtract. More than 300 dead and dying trees have been identified for removal over the next two to three years between Ford Park and Donovan Park.
Mountain pine beetle, which impacted lodgepole pines during the early part of the century, has all but disappeared in Colorado. However, spruce beetle has devastated spruce forests in other parts of the state in recent years. This work is intended to slow the spread of this new pest.
Homeowners along Gore Creek are encouraged to schedule a free tree evaluation with town staff to determine if spruce beetle is impacting their trees. One way to protect healthy trees is to install MCH pheromone packets on the trees. These packets act as a “no vacancy” sign, discouraging the insects from boring into the trees. Similar to mountain pine beetle infestations, once invaded, there is little that can save a heavily infested tree.
For more information, contact Gregg Barrie, project manager, at 970-479-2337.