Friday, September 30, 2011

Continental Divide Route travelers see global-warming impacts along the way

Travelers who pass through the northern Rockies on the backroads that comprise the Great Divide Route (a.k.a., Continental Divide Route) can see an ominous effect of global warming: expanses of dead and dying trees, primarily conifers and aspens.

Entire forest ecosystems along Union Pass Road, for example, are being reduced to ghostly tracts of beetle-killed, tinder-dry trees that stand like graveyard headstones.

Global warming is damaging the wildlands we backcountry travelers expend so much time, money and resources to enjoy. Just look closely at the photos in the many CDR or other Rocky Mountain ride reports on Web forums like Adventure Rider. What can we do? I wish I knew; I suppose reconsidering the vehicles we drive would help. But first, we need to be aware of the problem.

To learn more, read this recent story in The New York Times, headlined "With the Deaths of Forests, a Loss of Key Climate Protectors."

Also view the Times' accompanying interactive map, Changing Forests.

Red and gray conifers signal a dying forest on Wyoming's Union Pass.

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