You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Loggers, tribe fight pests’ threat to trees

SPEARFISH CANYON, S.D. - American Indians and loggers have been longtime rivals in the forests of South Dakota’s Black Hills region, but they have joined forces to fight a common adversary.

Joe Shark’s Native American heritage taught him to be leery of the timber industry on the South Dakota reservation where he grows apples and gooseberries, but a growing threat from tiny pine beetles has impelled him to grab a saw and join the loggers.

Continue reading below

For more than two decades, the tiny insects have been a colossal pain for the Indians seeking to preserve the trees and the timber workers who are chopping down thousands for profit. The infiltration of the bug has left countless trees dead, severely threatening both missions.

It has reached such levels lately that Shark and other tribal farmers with longstanding opposition to logging are helping to clear the infected trees to save the noninfected ones.

To ensure that the fallen trees are not wasted, the Native Americans are hoping to put the wood to use by building wooden homes on the notoriously run-down and poverty-stricken reservation.

So far, the Lakota Logging Project has trained about 15 Native Americans, including Shark, with plans to train many more. It marks the largest-scale project to date involving a nonprofit group aiming to help combat the beetle epidemic, said Adam Gahagan, senior forester with Custer State Park.

Angel Munoz, who owns a Rapid City logging company with his wife, Barbara, said he is not surprised that the fight to save the trees is drawing unlikely allies, considering that the pine beetle threat is worse than it has ever been.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.