Jul 11, 2011 11:17 AM by Greg Boyce
RED FEATHER LAKES, Colo. (AP) - The U.S. Forest Service is allowing logging contractors to cut down beetle-killed trees, taking over tree removal and thinning projects.
Ranger Kevin Atchley says the trees are dead, covering hundreds of thousands of acres, and need to be removed. Some contractors are using massive red tree harvesters, logging machines on two tracks with a giant saw-equipped claw that slices trees away from their base. The machine cuts and tracks its way through the woods along the road, clearing and stacking trees in just minutes.
Forest Service administrator Luke Brandy says most of the area being thinned won't be clear cut because trees must be left standing to keep wildlife habitat intact, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan.