National Forest & Pine Beetle

mountain views at Keystone Community Impact Activities Beautiful field of Aspens in the summer at Keystone Community Impact Activities

National Forest Support
Starting with the 2006-2007 winter season, Vail Resorts (Keystone’s parent company) has partnered with the National Forest Foundation to raise money for conservation projects in the national forests where Vail Resorts operations are located. The program raises money by adding $1 to the total for each Vail Resorts season pass purchased or room night stayed at a Vail Resorts property (which can be removed by the guest), and is matched 50% by the National Forest Foundation. The money is then distributed by the National Forest Foundation to non-profit organizations doing on-the-ground conservation work in the National Forests where Vail Resorts operates. In the summer of 2011, Keystone Resort employees planted over 1000 trees on the front side of Dercum Mountain as part of our mountain clean up day.

Mountain Pine Beetle and Forest Management
Thousands of brown lodgepole pine trees around Keystone and Summit County have been killed as a result of an infestation by mountain pine beetles. Mountain pine beetles burrow into the bark of pine trees and lay eggs in the inner bark (the living layer of the tree). The eggs hatch into larvae that eat the living inner bark layer. The beetles also carry blue stain fungus on their bodies, which develops and spreads throughout the tree and slows the flow of water and nutrients. The combination of larvae eating the bark and the blue stain fungus slowing the flow of nutrients cuts off the flow of water and pitch to the branches and needles, killing the tree. As trees die, their needles change from green to rusty brown.

Once the larvae mature into beetles, the beetles fly to a new tree, generally sometime between early July and early September. The beetles only have to fly a short distance to find another living tree to attack. The number of beetles in the current outbreak has reached epidemic proportion and widespread areas of trees have been killed as a result.

Keystone has mapped the front side of Dercum Mountain, The River Course at Keystone, Keystone Ranch Golf Course, and the resort area in the valley by tree type to identify areas of beetle infestation as well as areas susceptible to attack by mountain pine beetle. Keystone has sprayed some vulnerable islands of lodgepole pine trees on the mountain, golf courses, and in the valley to prevent attack from mountain pine beetles. In the valley and on the golf courses, many trees killed by the mountain pine beetle have been cut down and removed to lessen fire danger.


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