Thursday, January 14, 2010

Custer State Park Heli Logging

As many of you know,the good folks at Custer State Park are pretty scared of the Pine Beetles that are killing the trees as a result of the conditions brought on by the long drought in the west that "ended" a few years back. CSP is doing all they can to slow the spread of this little critter and the killing effects it has on the forest. They started by chopping infested trees up in 2' hunks. This is the reason why the Cathedral Spires area looks like a war zone. Well, for awhile it was a war zone.

The battle has moved on and they are now using more high tech tools. They brought in a Heli Logging Company with a way cool K-max helicopter to pluck the infested trees out of the forest w/o building roads over the rough and beautiful terrain that we all love. The K-max is all business. Designed to lift over 6000 pounds, it is a sky truck!! Parts of the places we love are looking pretty industrial this winter, but the end result is going to look GREAT. Only the stumps of the bug trees will be left, and a whole new vision of the park will come of it. We will see granite masses that have been hidden by the trees for decades. I'm willing to bet that boldering will go off like crazy now that you can see the rocks.

For some of you, the idea of logging might be hard to swallow, but for those of you who climb, this could do a lot to save our beloved climbing area in the event of a fire. Because our forest have been starved of fire, they are over grown. Thus when they do burn they burn HOT HOT HOT. As I understand it, very hot wild fires can change the structure of the rock such that all the great crystals and friction that make this place such an awesome face climbing area start to break down and fail when weighted. Not so good for climbing!!!!! So getting rid off all that fuel might be saving a classic climbing area. Mother nature weaves such a tangled web.


  1. Yeah DS I hiked trail 9 today. You can't believe the amount of rock that is visible now. Looks like lots of new places to explore.

  2. Gus, Wish I could have been out there with you. I need more hours in the day!