Rio Grande National Forest puts dead trees to use

Spruce beetle activity continues to decline on the Rio Grande National Forest according to 2017 aerial survey data. The tiny bark beetles spread into 7,000 acres of uninfested forest last year, as compared to infesting 22,000 acres in 2016. They were still active on 47,000 acres, down from 93,000 acres the previous year. A total of 617,000 acres of high and mid elevation forests have been infested by spruce beetles since 2002.

Spruce beetles mostly infest Engelmann spruce in Colorado, but will also attack some blue spruce. The beetles are native to North America and have been killing most of the Engelmann spruce trees in infested areas that are larger than five inches in diameter.