Custer taxes landowners to treat beetle infested trees

The war against the pine beetle in the Black Hills is a difficult battle, especially when landowners refuse to chip-in and help fight the infestation on their own property. That’s why Custer is holding non-compliant landowners responsible one way or another.

The City is hiring contractors to use a big machine to chip infested trees and turn them into log chips.

Custer Mayor Gary Lipp says even after being notified, some landowners refuse to treat infested trees on their property, forcing the city to issue abatement.

“We’re going to treat the property with the use of contractors and that will be billed against their property,” Mayor Lipp said.

That bill can add up quickly at $35 dollars a tree plus moving expenses.

Beetle Expert Frank Carrol says Custer County needs to enforce the nuisance ordinance to prevent bugs from jumping across county property onto city property.

“It’s not popular but it’s an important thing to do so hopefully County Commissioners will find a way to start requiring people in Custer County to take care of their trees,” Carrol said.

Carrol says if landowners, The City and the State can chip away at one property at a time, that’s one less beetle infested tree bugging the Black Hills.

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