Baker City, OR (May 4, 2017) —Over the next couple of weeks visitors to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest may see work crews falling hazard trees in campgrounds and along highly used recreation corridors. A hazard tree is a tree that is likely to cause property damage or personal injury from a tree—or part of a tree—falling. Trees that are likely to strike a camp site or a toilet building, for example, or a tree that is damaged or has bug or disease infestation that makes the tree susceptible of falling would be considered a hazard. If there is a high risk of a tree falling then the hazard tree is removed.
“Hazard tree removal is part of our commitment to public safety,” said Patrick Lair, Acting Deputy District Ranger for the Wallowa Mountains District. “We appreciate the public’s patience and tolerance while our crews are out this spring getting our roads and sites safe and ready for the summer recreation season.”
Removal of hazard trees occurs every spring so the visitors to the forest can enjoy a safer experience and to protect public resources like picnic tables and roads. Hazard trees are identified and removed by trained employees who measure the risk posed by hazard trees according to recognized standards and guidelines.
Campgrounds can provide wonderful habitat for both people and wildlife. Many kinds of wildlife live in dead or dying trees. We recognize that shade and majestic trees are a huge draw for campers. That’s why we take removing hazard trees very seriously and evaluate the risk of each tree carefully. Though it may remove some wildlife habitat, it is our responsibility to focus on public safety as the highest priority in recreation sites.
“This last winter the Forest experiences some extreme storms that damaged or caused limbs or whole trees to fall,” said Lair. “Over the last few years, certain areas have been heavily impacted by bug infestation or disease that has weakened trees and made them more susceptible to falling. It’s our job to assess which trees need to be removed for safety while keeping the maximum number of healthy trees possible around recreational sites for all of us to enjoy.”