Beetle Kill Pine
This post (like most posts on the Home on the Range blog) was written by Payje Bier. Payje is the Design Assistant/Marketing Manager/Blog Writer/Facebook Poster/Sketchup Artist/Web Designer/Sales Associate at Home on the Range. Come visit her in the showroom sometime and say hello!
It’s hard to forget the moment that the full force of the pine beetle epidemic struck me. For years in Colorado, we have watched our hillsides turn from green to red. Everyone remarked on how sad it was to see our trees dying, and wondered when it would stop. But, though the trees were red, they were still there. I moved to New Mexico in the fall of 2010, and in Albuquerque, no pine trees meant no beetles.
When I returned to Steamboat last spring (2012), my dad and I continued a long held tradition and went for a drive to Steamboat Lake, something we have been doing as a family for my entire life. When I was little, we would camp at the lake every summer. We built campfires, pitched tents, laughed and played in the forest. The place is ingrained in my memories. It came as a horrific surprise to me when we arrived at the lake and I didn’t even know where we were. My dad had to carefully explain our surroundings to orient me. The reason I didn’t recognize the place where we had spent so much time over the years was this: ALL of the trees were gone. An entire FOREST was missing. It was then that I understood the full repercussions of the beetle infestation.
Hundreds of thousands of trees have fallen victim to the pine-beetles. Loggers have been cutting them down, acre after acre, because dead trees make for such a sever fire hazard. It is nothing less than a tragedy. But, Coloradoans are resourceful. It may have taken a little while, but we found a way to reclaim this tragedy and incorporate the remains of our beloved forests into our surroundings once more. We are finding more and more uses for beetle kill pine, and one of the most prominent is using it as reclaimed wood in design.
Home on the Range was recently part of a building/design project that did just that. We used locally sourced, beetle kill lumber in a project on Dakota Ridge here in Steamboat. Below are a few pictures of how the wood was used in the project: in the bunk room for paneling on the walls and ceiling, in the bunk room den for wainscoting, and in the bathroom vanity.
Using beetle kill pine in furniture is also a growing trend. A blog post by Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture describes this process in greater detail, and uses some beautiful furniture pieces for examples.
Up-cycling is a popular fashion in design at the moment, and there is no better item to “reclaim” than a decimated forest; nothing better to recycle than a seemingly obsolete piece of wood. As the forests begin to regenerate and grow again, we are glad to be surrounded by memories of the past in our homes, and excited to be a part of this innovative process.