As a result of the disease infestation, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has been faced with a significant long-term choice: 1) Remove the risk by cutting down the trees, or 2) Reduce the risk of public injury by removing developed facilities in these forest settings. After consultations with forest pathologists with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and input from the public through a series of meetings, State Parks chose to move forward with the first option. In November 2011, the Director approved the implementation of prescriptions to reduce the risk of tree failure associated with laminated root rot in developed and associated areas at Kopachuck. Trees were to be treated and sold. Since the disease affects tree roots, most of the wood in an infected tree is still sound.
The first phase of tree removal involves removing Douglas-fir (laminated root rot host) within a tree length and a half of the ranger residence and office/shop complex. The forest in Phase I was dominated by Douglas-fir, which has necessitated the removal of most of the trees in that area. Although the Phase I work has dramatically changed the current appearance of the area around the park office, the contractor has been carefully monitored and the cut is in compliance with the contract provisions. Phase I work is expected to be completed by March 10, 2012. Proceeds from the timber sale will be used for restoring the affected area.
The Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. The 98-year-old park system will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.
Washington State Parks is on Twitter at WaStatePks_NEWS and YouTube at WashingtonStateParks.