The U.S. Forest Service says the trees in Lake Tahoe aren’t healthy because fire suppression has let small fir trees grow that compete for water with big Jeffery Pines.
“[It makes] it more difficult for the Jeffery Pine to survive and thrive,” says Rita Mustatia with the U.S. Forest Service.
Rita Mustatia with the U.S. Forest Service says a popular public Christmas Tree Cutting Program helped by issuing thousands of permits to cut down the firs. But this year, there are 1,000 fewer permits. Mustatia says contracted forest thinning is making it more difficult for the public to find small trees and the Christmas Tree Cutting Program is being evaluated.
Mustatia says the service is trying to keep the program alive by maintaining a certain number of permits that is "reasonable for a sustained program over time knowing that it might get more difficult with all the thinning that's going on."
Forest thinning will double to 10,000 acres in the next few years at a cost of $9 to $25 million dollars. Forest thinning field work around Incline Village will begin this summer.