Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest officials say that one of the most popular areas in the forest, Crystal Lake Campground Area, will be closed for camping for the next few seasons because of “hazard trees,” according to a report by KRTV Great Falls News.

After many trees in the area fell during a heavy snowfall during the winter, officials began to suspect there was a problem with the tree-stand.

“This is from extensive stem decay and root disease.” explained Helena – Lewis & Clark Culturist, Matt Voigt.

After a thorough forest health assessment, trees were flagged, and a fire crew came.

Of the 127 trees cut down, 125 had root disease or stem decay.

“You can see the rot, and this amount of wood, less than an inch, was what was keeping this tree up.” explained Judith Mussel Shell District Ranger, Ron Wiseman.

The National Forests’ culturists, or tree experts, say the tree-stand at the Crystal Lake Campground area is old, with trees ranging from 250 to 280 years in age. Younger trees have the vigor to fight against the diseases that are common in the area, but older trees don’t have the defenses which making them much more susceptible to be overcome by the diseases.

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