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Bumblebee campground closing to cut sickly trees

Fri., Feb. 7, 2014

One of North Idaho’s most popular campgrounds will be closed this year while the Forest Service removes hazardous trees.

Towering Douglas firs and grand firs are part of the ambience at the Bumblebee campground, located at the confluence of Bumblebee Creek and the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River. But an outbreak of root rot has severely weakened the trees, leaving them vulnerable to blowing down, said Jason Kirchner, a Forest Service spokesman.

Removing the big, mature trees will change the look of the campground, but for campers’ safety, “doing nothing was not an option,” he said.

Two common types of root rot are found at the campground: armillaria and annosus root disease. Both are caused by funguses. By destroying the roots, the diseases leave the trees vulnerable to attacks from insects, which seek out unhealthy trees for hosts. Often, root rot and insects are jointly responsible for killing trees, Kirchner said.

Bumblebee is one of the busiest campgrounds on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests. The 25 camp sites typically fill up on summer weekends. A nonfee camping area across the road will remain open for recreation, Kirchner said.

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