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GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) -- The latest mountain pine beetle infestation appears to be slowing down in Eastern Oregon, but not before becoming the leading killer of the signature tree of Crater Lake National Park -- the whitebark pine.

Park botanist Jennifer Beck says the beetle now kills more of the gnarled trees that grace the highest elevations of the park than an invasive fungus that also attacks them.

Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman says timber fallers are cutting dead lodgepole pines around campgrounds, where they pose a safety hazard, but elsewhere in the park the infestation is considered part of the natural process.

The park is trying to protect whitebark pines by stapling them with a packet that emits an odor telling beetles to find another tree.

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