Senate Subcommittee Comes to Rocky Mountain National Park for Hearing on August 24

Beetle-killed pine tree.

Are mountain pine beetle outbreaks impacted by climate change? The subject may come up during the hearings. This whitebark pine in the Wind River Range of Wyoming was killed by beetles. Kurt Repanshek photo.

If you'll be near Estes Park, Colorado, on Monday and you've ever been curious about how a U.S. Senate Subcommittee hearing looks in person instead on C-SPAN, here's your chance.

U.S. Senators Mark Udall (D-Colorado) and John McCain (R-Arizona) will visit Rocky Mountain National Park on August 24, 2009, and hold a field hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks to discuss the impacts of climate change on Colorado’s parks.

The hearing will begin at noon in the Board Room of the Town Hall, 170 MacGregor Avenue, in Estes Park, Colorado. Estes Park adjoins Rocky Mountain National Park, and is an important gateway community for the park. This is an official U.S. Senate hearing which is open to the public, but no public testimony will be taken.

Prior to the hearing, McCain and Udall will tour the park to see first-hand how climate change may be impacting the park. Among potential issues: bark beetle infestations and changes to wildlife habitat. In order to keep logistics at a manageable level—and to stay on schedule—the tour will not be open to the public.

"National parks can serve as the proverbial 'canary in the coal mine,'" said park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson. "We appreciate the opportunity to share information with the senators and for them to see some of the current and potential impacts of climate change in Rocky Mountain National Park."

Individuals scheduled to offer testimony at the afternoon hearing include:

• Dr. Herbert C. Frost , Associate Director for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, National Park Service;
• Alice Madden , Climate Change Coordinator, Office of the Governor, Denver, Colorado;
• Stephen Saunders, President, The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization;
• Dr. David Schimel, Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research.