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July through September, 2013

The Worm Has Turned (Again)

The Spruce Budworm, that is. However, when this worm turns it goes from being strong and confident to being weak. See below for the ongoing story of the worm.

This year we again attended two nights of the Grand Teton Music Festival. We camped in our RV at the Gros Ventre Campground in Grand Teton Park. One morning our breakfast was interrupted by a bull moose wandering through the campground. We retreated to the RV and watched as it walked by on its way to a nearby river.

Last year it appeared the Spruce Budworm would be as bad in 2013 as it was in 2006. In 2007 a number of our neighbors decided to spray, which turned out to be a needless expense. This year saw the same scenario play out: we woke to hear the sound of an airplane buzzing the canyon at low altitude. A trail of mist followed the airplane, often extending over properties that did not want spraying. We, along with what appears to the be the majority of the canyon, were not happy that no advance notice was given since there are many potential problems, including spooked livestock, dangers to those with compromised immune systems and damage to other species of moths and butterflies.

It appears that the problem again resolved itself naturally, as shown in our own pictorial record. Our feeling is that protecting large tracts of trees from a naturally occurring pest is best done by maintaining a healthy forest rather than by spraying.

As Summer gets drier, forest fires are a problem. Several fires have started south of Bozeman (all lightning caused), and the smoke is visible from our house when the wind is right. “Right” means the wind is blowing smoke away from us so the air is clear enough to see. This is a relatively small fire about 20 or 30 miles from us. Another smaller fire is burning to the right (west). Since these fires do not threaten many structures and fire fighters have been sequestered, there are limited resources being applied.


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