Wood River Valley Groups Engage Public On Bald Mountain Forest Health

Oct 16, 2019

The U.S. Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation are holding community forums this fall to come up with solutions for forest health issues on Bald Mountain. The Forest Service and the Idaho Conservation League are holding a "Science Pub" talk on this topic on Wednesday evening at the Sawtooth Brewery Public House in Ketchum.

 

“Baldy” is the main peak of Sun Valley resort, and has been a playground for residents and guests in Sun Valley for the past century. Now the Forest Service is saying more aggressive action is needed to deal with disease and insect outbreaks on the mountain and the surrounding forest areas.

“Because right now, as we’re doing small portions, we’re not staying ahead of some of the issues,” said Zach Poff of the Ketchum Ranger District. He said for the past 10 to 15 years the Forest Service and partners, which include Sun Valley Resort, have focused on the health of individual areas.    

This forest is vulnerable because the Douglas fir trees are homogeneous in size and spacing, and because they’ve been exposed to drought and two historic fires that have surrounded the area. 

“These trees get stressed," Poff said. "And when they’re stressed, they’re much more susceptible to insects and disease.”

Dwarf mistletoe and Douglas fir-beetles are degrading the long-term forest health.  

The Forest Service is doing an environmental analysis called the Bald Mountain Stewardship Project, so by next summer they will have a better idea of what treatments will be most successful. The National Forest Foundation hopes input from the public will yield a variety of possible solutions.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen  

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