In Colorado, an estimated two million acres of forests have been affected by the
mountain pine beetle, including trees in and around the towns of Winter Park, Fraser, Tabernash, Granby, Grand Lake, and Hot Sulpher Springs. Summit County, Eagle County and Routt County, (which include the ski towns of Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain, Vail, Beaver Creek, and Steamboat Springs) have also been hit hard by the pine beetle, which gained a foothold after the drought of 2002.
Yellowish, brownish, and reddish lodge pole pines have been seen throughout Grand County, and close-up inspections of the trees reveal “popcorn” like clumps on the trunk of the trees and sawdust at the base of the trees in the past.
How did this affect real estate in Grand County? Without question, we lost some of the beauty of the dense green forests, but in turn, there have been positive effects since. First and foremost, breathtaking view vistas have been opened all across Grand
County. Properties that previously had no views or “peek-a-boo” views now have gorgeous panoramic shots of majestic mountains peaks and deep-blue lakes.
Also, because the pine beetle epidemic was actually a natural part of the forest’s cycle of decay and growth, we have seen an amazing variety of foliage and trees growing onthe forest floor, thanks to sunlight that now reaches what were once dense, overgrown areas. This change can be seen, most remarkably, in Grand Lake, Colorado.
Grand Lake was the first community in Grand County to be hit the hardest and was also the most proactive in addressing the issue of dead trees. Dead trees were removed from both sides of Highway 34 (the main approach to Grand Lake) and from all land and properties within town limits.
Many developments, neighborhoods, and homeowner’s associations throughout Grand County (including Pole Creek, Rendezvous, Granby Ranch, and Grand Park) took aggressive approaches to forest management, and the results are clear. As the lodge pole pines have been removed, aspens and other varieties of trees, bushes, and grasses have begun to thrive.