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Heard on the Hill: Hearing in the Hills

Next Sunday the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands will hold a field hearing at a trailer park in Hill City, S.D.

The Rafter J Bar Ranch is close to the forest where the mountain pine beetle began its path of destruction from South Dakota to Colorado and Wyoming.

Millions of acres of dead and dying timber left in the wake of the beetles destruction has increased the risk of catastrophic fires throughout our forests and has impacted recreational access and other multiple-use activities, Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said in a statement Thursday.

The pine beetle epidemic is nothing short of a slow-motion disaster for the Black Hills National Forest and the regions economy, Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) agreed.

In other words, these are not nice beetles.

The Rafter J Bar Ranchs other claim to fame besides the evil pine beetle, its proximity to the Black Hills National Park and playing host to a field committee hearing is its history. According to its website, Gen. George Custers expedition wandered through the Bar Ranch way back in July 74.

Thats 1874.

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