Landowners share beetle experiences
Published: Thursday, April 11th, 2013
Julie Oswald remembers her reaction the first time she came upon the mountain of timber that was stacked on her land, freshly cut during the battle with the Mountain Pine Beetle. She laid her head on the wood and cried.
Oswald, of Minneapolis, Minn., is CEOâï¿½ï¿½and owner of Pacer Corp. and Circle Z Properties and developer of Circle Pines Subdivision. These days, she realizes that to keep the forest healthy as a whole, some trees must pay the ultimate price — particularly those that have been infected by the beetle.
“It has been a learning lesson every year,”âï¿½ï¿½she said.âï¿½ï¿½“We are getting better and better and we are getting smarter at it. It’s making a difference.”
Thanks to an aggressive management plan, Oswald said her land is still green, thanks to the help of Andy Kelford, who helps manage her property, and a variety of local and government cooperators who have all played a part in keeping her property from being overrun by pine beetles.
Oswald and Kelford were among the presenters at Tuesday morning’s landowner conversation entitled “Beetles, Fuels and Foresty,” initiated by the local Bark Beetle Blues Committee as part of Bark Beetle Blues Week in Custer. The discussion was hosted by the Custer County Conservation District and held at the Custer County Courthouse Annex.
Oswald said she felt like a “damsel in distress” wondering how to stop pine beetles from ravaging the 890 acres of county property she owns, saying the goal of management is to “protect our beautiful Black Hills and keep our forests healthy for present and future enjoyment.”
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