The Boise National Forest says parasites and bark beetles are killing trees at an alarming rate around Bogus Basin. It is a serious problem, and if it is not dealt with quickly, it could spell big trouble for our local ski hill.
Near the lower lodge at Bogus Basin, many of trees are sick with a parasitic plant and bark beetles. Rangers with the United States Forest Service say it is a major forest health crisis.
"If we don't do something about this problem the entire forest at bogus basin will die," said Stephaney Kerley, the Mountain Home District Ranger for the Boise National Forest.
The U.S. Forest Service says between 50 and 90 percent of the trees are infected. Some of them are even unstable and pose a danger to skiers. With all the dead trees, a single spark could ignite a devastating wildfire, and they have already had some close calls.
"We've dodged a bullet probably 4 times this season," said Kerley.
Rangers also say, with no forest, it would be hard to keep the snow on the popular ski hill. The trees provide an important windbreak and shade for trails. It is because of the dangers that the Forest Service is planning a logging project to get rid of thousands of dying trees. Biologists say they will replace the dying trees with trees resistant to the parasites.
The project could start as soon as next summer and could last up to three years. During which time, Bogus Basin Road will see logging truck traffic. Officials say biking and off-trail ski areas will face temporary closures.
But supporters of the project say the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term headaches.
"Bogus will look a little bit different after this is all done, and so, in the long run, I think it's the right thing to do, and it makes sense for folks that recreate up there as well of all of us who enjoy the Boise National Forest," said Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League.
The head of the Boise National Forest is expected to give final approval at the end of September.