The proposed sale of 1,800 acres of bark beetle-infested trees on Dixie National Forest has been put on hold after three tries to find buyers failed.

At least for this winter, U.S. Forest Service officials have abandoned efforts to sell lumber rights in Sidney Valley after the latest attempt could not attract a bidder."There no longer is any urgency (to sell) this year," said Dixie spokesman Mark Van Every. "We lost our window of opportunity."

With road construction precluded by drifting snow and the goshawk nesting season under way, logging plans have been set aside until the onset of warmer weather. Van Every said officials will attempt to sell the Sidney Valley project again next spring or summer.

He said the Dixie project may be put up for bid along with two others under consideration in the areas of Radar Ridge and Brian Head Resort.

Like Sidney Valley, some trees in the other two projects are infested with the bark beetle. However, Van Every acknowledged the additional timber harvests also would take down some healthy trees.

He said that harvesting some non-infested trees would reduce competition in the forest and in the long run increase the ability of remaining trees to resist the beetle.

Forest officials broke the Dixie harvest into pieces in an attempt to generate interest from lumber mills during the third sale, but no bidders came forward by the October deadline. The lack of interest continued throughout the 30 days the last offer was left on the table.

Van Every said he still was at a loss to explain the failure of the timber sale.