TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – The Carson National Forest said a root disease infestation has prevented the reopening of Hopewell Lake Campground west of Tres Piedras. While the campground is usually open this time of year, the fungal disease infestation of Engelmann spruce trees has kept it closed.

“The infected trees are at greater risk for falling and injuring people so they are being removed,” said Plant Pathologist Gregory J. Reynolds, Ph.D in a news release. “Although the disease occurs naturally, it creates hazardous conditions for the visiting public when located at developed recreation sites.” 

The U.S. Forest Service said the disease is called Tomentosus root disease which is caused by a fungus known as woolly velvet polypore. It spreads underground by root-to-root contact and develops over multiple years.

Staff hope to reopen the campground in mid-June. An announcement of a reopening date will be made later. The general forest around the campground is still open but the Forest Service said visitors should be aware of potential hazards from infected Engelmann spruce trees along with the quaking aspen trees which are dealing with their own fungal decay diseases. They said anyone who plans to visit should be aware that strong winds could knock down the trees which may look healthy otherwise.