Throughout the year, the Bark Beetle Blues community organization found ways to help people cope with losing the forest to the pine beetle. Saturday night came the final step; acceptance.
People gathered on Pageant Hill in Custer to watch a giant wooden pine beetle replica go up in flames.
Karl Svensson, the beetle builder, says he doesn't mind burning the work; it was meant to help people cope. "I think a lot of people have issues, or struggle with the forest being lost, and things changing and the attack of the beetle and all that," said Svensson. "There's some emotional aspects."
Linda Haverly are crew members of the Custer County Conservation District. They spent the fall marking trees that were pine beetle invested. "I think it's a culmination of our efforts to rid the Black Hills of the mountain pine beetle," said Haverly.
And Patti Lee, Beetle Blues group, says this final event will allow community members to move on. "It means that we have to accept Mother Nature and go forward and just moan and groan about it and try to make the best of it," said Lee.