Anchorage Assembly approves $50K to cut down beetle-killed spruce trees

a person cuts down a tree
Crews cut down beetle-killed spruce trees in Anchorage in 2021. (Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved a $50,000 grant to pay for spruce beetle mitigation and restoration in the city. 

Josh Durand, director of the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department, said the money will be used to cut down infested trees in city parks and on trails. He said the work is badly needed.

“The infestation is — it’s big,” he said. 

Durand said it costs about $1,000 to remove each infested tree. Assembly member Chris Constant commented on how comparatively small the grant was, but stressed the need for action.

“That number, a thousand dollars a tree, that’s the first time I’ve heard that, and that hurts when you think about how many millions of trees that are out there,” said Constant. “But it’s good we got started early and we’re deep in it, and it seems this $50,000 is a drop in the bucket then.” 

The $50,000 is a grant from the state Department of Natural Resources. Durand said the parks department will continue to work to build fire breaks and other measures to ensure that dead trees don’t fuel wildfires this season.

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