The pine beetle epidemic has affected much of the Black Hills. In September crews started identifying pine beetle infested trees in Custer State Park that needed to be cut. Now crews are cutting down those trees.
"This Sylvan Lake area for whatever reason has been hit pretty hard this year. We are bordered entirely by the US Forest Service and it appears that we have had some significant in flights of mountain pine beetles of US Forest Service land into Custer State Park," said Adam Gahagan, Senior Forester at Custer State Park.
The red marked trees are the ones that will be cut. Gahagan said crews are still in the process of marking the trees throughout the park.
"Right now we have about 28,000 trees identified and we are estimating that we will have somewhere around 30,000 trees across the whole park to treat this year."
Gahagan said in some other areas of the park the pine beetle epidemic is not as bad.
"In the main body of the park where we have more contiguous land more contiguous forest, the epidemic appears to be declining. We'll have less infested trees than we had last year and less infested trees than we had two years ago."
Crews have until March 1st to complete the cut and chunk treatment and then they have until June 1st to complete the chunk and removal treatment.