A couple of popular public campgrounds - one in Idaho and one in Washington - are out of commission for the entire year for an unusual reason --- sick trees above both campsites.
Idaho Panhandle National Forest rangers have closed the Bumblebee campground near Kingston Idaho in the Silver Valley because of loose limbs still hanging in trees overlooking the area. As the government agency put it, "those limbs can become falling projectiles in a wind event."
Forest rangers said that such limbs are normally dislodged by winter storms and snow. But this year's mild winter did not do the job.
This year's closure is the second in a row for the popular campsite. Last year Bumblebee was shut down because so many of the towering Douglas firs there were diseased, dying or dead and had to be cut down.
In Washington, the South Whidbey Island State Park campground is also closed for the year for much the same reason. State park officials said too many old Doug firs are failing with heart rot in the trunks.
A mid-winter survey found many large trees had snapped and fallen into the campground. Many of the trees still standing also showed signs of heart and root rot,
South Whidbey Island State Park is one of few lowland areas in Puget Sound which still has stands of old-growth forest.