One group of men is saying, "We can pay for it now or we will pay for it later," and they are talking about the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic.
"We really need funding to put more people on the ground to help find the new infested trees and people on the ground to help remove those infested trees and that money's not going to come from the federal government right now," said forester Paul Pierson.
Sixty to 70 truckloads of trees can be harvested in a day at the Neiman Saw Mill in Spearfish. Some of which are 100 % pine beetle kill, but safety director Rick Sperry says it's not enough. "We cannot handle the problem ourselves it's so overwhelming that we can't handle it we need help the whole state needs to pitch in and realize how serious of a problem it is," said Sperry.
It's estimated that about 400,000 acres of the Black Hills have been affected by the Mountain Pine Beetle but there is still a lot that could be saved.
"It's already out of control but there are acres in the black hills that remain somewhat unaffected, said Black Hills State University student Michael Miller. His interest in the pine beetle was sparked after a class assignment that led him to the men at the Neiman saw mill. And now they are calling for group cooperation.
"We all have something at stake here and if we can all pull together and put our resources in a unified effort we can make a much larger impact," said Pierson.
The men say the Forest Service efforts just aren't quite cutting it. "They're able to harvest but only to a point, to a line drawn, and imaginary line drawn, and they need to go beyond that line in order to be effective," said Miller.
"The forest service is probably doing more in South Dakota than they are anywhere else, but it's not enough," said Sperry.
They say everyone in South Dakota needs to work together to fix this problem. Otherwise the beauty of the Black Hills that draws in so many people will be lost.