The U.S. Forest Service has authorized the use of chain saws to clear trees killed by bark beetles in two wilderness areas in southwestern Colorado.
The Durango Herald reports Rocky Mountain Regional Forester Brian Ferebee last week approved the use of the motorized equipment in the Weminuche and South San Juan wilderness areas from June through mid-August.
The conservation group Wilderness Watch has opposed the action, saying it could set a precedent that could chip away at the Wilderness Act. The federal law prohibits any forms of mechanized use in the wilderness areas.
Forest Service officials say chain saws have been allowed in wilderness areas in the past, usually after storms have knocked down large numbers of trees.
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