Traps at Mount Rainier part of gypsy moth monitoring

jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.comSeptember 16, 2012 

If John Townsend has his way, the bug traps placed on trees at Mount Rainier National Park will always be empty.

The traps, he said, are part of a gypsy moth monitoring program being done by the state Department of Agriculture.

“We are hoping to not find gypsy moth at the park because it is a non-native invasive insect that would devastate the trees of Washington state,” said Townsend, the state trapping coordinator for the agency.

The park traps are among 18,000 set up across the state. They have been checked every two-three weeks and will be removed in October.

“We have not found any gypsy moth in the park but have trapped some in Seattle and Tukwila this summer,” Townsend said.

The traps are nontoxic and contain a pheromone that attracts male moths. Inside the trap is a sticky coating that traps the moth, allowing entomologists to learn where a population of the months might be developing.

Earlier this year, the department completed gypsy moth eradication efforts at a 43-acre site at South Hill Mall in Puyallup and at a 13-acre residential area in Eatonville.

The gypsy moth is the worst nonnative forest pest in the U.S. They arrive in the Northwest on ships from foreign ports or by hitching a ride with people traveling from other parts of the country. Nineteen states in the East and Midwest are permanently infested with gypsy moth.

In its caterpillar form, the pest attacks more than 500 species of trees and plants, said a department news release. The caterpillar quickly strips trees and plants of leaves, destroying some and weakening others so they are susceptible to plant diseases. That damage leads to destroyed wildlife habitat, degraded water quality and is a threat to the state’s timber, agriculture and nursery industries.

Gypsy moth has been detected in Washington every year since 1977.

PARK APPROVES TRAIL PLAN

Olympic National Park staffers have completed the 2012 Spruce Railroad Trail environmental assessment and a finding of no significant impact was released Monday. The chosen alternative calls for improving the Spruce Railroad Trail for universal accessibility by building an 8-foot wide asphalt trail with an adjacent 3-foot wide gravel shoulder.

The selected alternative will establish the entire 3.5 mile length of the Spruce Railroad Trail as a universally accessible, multipurpose trail to be shared by hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and people traveling in wheelchairs. The trail is in the Lake Crescent area of the park.

The three-foot unpaved shoulder will accommodate equestrians and other trail users who prefer to travel on an unpaved surface.

Both of the historic railroad tunnels will be reopened as part of the trail. A new segment of trail will be built near Lyre River in order to bypass the steep grades in that area.

The assessment is available at tinyurl.com/SRRT-Olympic. Hard copies are available by calling 360-565-3004.

Construction is dependent on available funding; no timeline has been established yet.

jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.com
253-597-8640
blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure

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