A large grove of pine trees near the back parking lot of Gate 4 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds has been identified as infested with bark beetles and is scheduled to be removed this week.
“It’s imperative that these trees be removed quickly before the overwintering young beetles mature and emerge as the next generation of adults,” said Robert Ingram, a registered forester who inspected the trees at the Fairgrounds. “When the parent beetles enter the tree, they mate, the female lays eggs and they both die. When the young beetles mature and emerge, there will be 25 – 40 times more beetles, which will create a greater infestation on the Fairgrounds.”
Ingram, who has more than 35 years as a forester with Sierra Pacific Industries, pointed out that while the trees impacted look green, the beetles have already killed the tree inside and it is dead. By the time the tree has visibly died, it’s too late to stop the infestation and the bark beetles have moved to other trees in the area. “If we want to maintain the beauty and look of the Fairgrounds, it is imperative that we get rid of the infested trees now so that we can preserve what is left,” he said.
“Because of the hundreds who walk our grounds each week, it’s important that we let the public know of this challenge so they understand why the trees are being removed,” said Rea Callender, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. “Because the trees still look alive, it appears we are taking down healthy trees; when, in fact, they have to be removed while the beetles are in the trees before they can spread to other trees. If we don’t get rid of these bark beetles, it will change the look of our beautiful Fairgrounds.”
The Nevada County Fairgrounds, well-known for its trees, has already lost 33 trees this year because of the infestation of the bark beetle. The grounds are covered with Sugar Pine and Ponderosa Pines, which are prone to bark beetle; and with several years of drought, coupled with the fact that many of the trees are old and weak, it makes them highly susceptible to the beetles.
To address the loss of the trees, the Nevada County Fairgrounds and the Fairgrounds Foundation are putting a reforestation program in place to begin replanting in the fall with trees that are less susceptible to bark beetle.
Because removing the trees and cleanup is costly, the Fairgrounds is looking into state grants available to help in the removal of trees. If you’d like to contribute to the reforestation plan, please make any monetary donations to the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation. All donations are tax deductible.
The Nevada County Fairgrounds is located on McCourtney Road in Grass Valley.