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Dead trees provide training for Camp Ripley staff and partners

CAMP RIPLEY — A project to remove unhealthy and dying pine trees in Camp Ripley’s Cantonment area was started Friday by the Camp Ripley Environmental office.

“There are a lot more trees showing signs of the Pine Bark Beetle than I noticed at first glance,” said Jay Brezinka, Camp Ripley environmental team director.

In recent years these pine trees have become drought stricken, making them more susceptible to insects and disease, primarily the Pine Bark Beatle. The intent of the project was to remove unsightly trees and minimize the spread of disease. A mix of jackpine and Norway pine had succumbed to the effects of insects and drought. These trees were dropped and bucked-up utilizing chainsaws.

“If nothing is done insects and disease often flair up during times of stress such as drought, however in this case it appears to be more significant. Once the insects take hold it is very important to harvest the infected trees and remove them from the site before the problem continues,” said John Maile, Camp Ripley environmental project manager.

“We will need to coordinate with the area DNR forestry office and set up a commercial timber sale,” he added.

The project provided an opportunity for a Sentence to Serve crew to perform some chainsaw training on these designated trees. On Oct. 16 and Oct. 17, approximately 100 Sentence to Serve personnel were able to practice tree felling and bucking techniques on several sizeable trees 11-inches to 13-inches in diameter at breast height.

The remaining trees were dropped, cut, stacked and sorted by Camp Ripley Environmental staff. The amount of wood produced from the project was estimated to be 15 cords; the timber will be available for market sale. Money from the sale will help to fund future land management projects on Camp Ripley.