STEVENSVILLE, Mont. -

A popular recreation area on the Bitterroot National Forest has reopened after being closed since May.

Seeley Lake's Pyramid Mountain Lumber Company finished logging in the Bass Creek Rec area. The Forest Service said the site was thinned to improve forest health and to protect large Ponderosa Pine trees from Mountain Pine Beetles.

Trish Foster is a horsewoman who came back the first day the recreation site re-opened.

"It looks great," said Foster, of the newly thinned forest. "I really think it opens it up."

Pyramid Mountain Lumber logged mostly Ponderosa Pine trees at Bass Creek.

The Forest Service said there was some pine beetle infestation here, but not a great deal. There are more pine beetle in the southern end of the Bitterroots. But this area is surrounded by infestations.

Scientists said thinning the area provides more nutrients so the trees can better fight beetles off.

"One of the things pine beetles don't like is sunlight on the trunk of the trees," said District Ranger Dan Ritter."When we thin the stand out the sunlight hits the tree and the beetles don't like that."

About half the trees have been thinned, or 1,100 truckloads on 750 acres.