USDA goes on Wyoming bark beetle tour

Laramie, WY – The federal official who oversees the U.S. Forest Service yesterday toured some of Wyoming's bark-beetle-ravaged forests with Governor Dave Freudenthal. Freudenthal says the point was to show Harris Sherman, a U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary, the extent that the bark beetle is hitting Wyoming's forests: "While Wyoming may be a few years behind what's gone on in Colorado, we're certainly in the bulls-eye of the problem, and it's only gonna get worse."

The Undersecretary also met with some Wyoming county commissioners, who described the local impact of the bark beetle problem. Freudenthal says no specific plan came out of the visit. But the Governor says he learned that a regional forester in Denver is drafting plans to allocate federal funding for states affected by the bark beetle epidemic. Freudenthal says he expects to see that plan within a few weeks.