Mountain pine beetles might have devastated millions of acres of Colorado forest, but the centennial state knows how to turn a negative into a positive. While the U.S. Forest Service remains unconvinced that salvaging the wood is economically viable, enterprising designers, artists, and architects think otherwise. Unlike the dead, denuded trees, beetle kill lumber is gorgeous- depending upon the species, it may be pale, with striking blue, red, or brown streaks. It's also sustainable, as harvesting lessens fire danger. The wood is drier and thus crack-prone, which is why it's generally used for aesthetic, rather than structural, reasons. A few months back Curbed Ski highlighted how this awesome Aspen estate used the wood, but here's a peek at how green-thinking mountain businesses across Colorado are using pine beetle kill to amp up the style in buildings and decor.
↑ On the Front Range, Devil's Thumb Ranch uses lodgepole timber for much of its interior wood trim.
↑ Arapahoe Basin's new 6th Alley Bar incorporated blue stained pine beetle accents in their sliding barn door and as wall decor.
↑ At Crested Butte's historic Nordic Inn, the extensively remodeled rooms feature beetle kill ceilings.
↑ On the other side of the Elk Range, The Little Nell's new wine cellar tasting room has a hefty beetle kill table as centerpiece.
↑ Down valley, Basalt's Woody Creek Distillers boasts beetle kill paneling on the walls of its airy, rustic-modern tasting room and barreling room.
↑ At the five-month-old Carbondale Library, a celebration of green design, beetle kill is used on a creative slatted ceiling in the Community Room, and as shelving in the Young Adult area.
↑ Even Colorado ski companies like Meier Skis are getting in on the pine beetle action. Meier Skis is the first ski manufacturer in the country to use pine beetle kill wood to shape a quiver of skis that will take you from the park to the powder.
· Aspen's Red River Estate Sells WIth Awesome Beetle Kill [Curbed Ski Archives]
· Forests: Does salvage logging in beetle-killed forests make economic sense for the Forest Service? [Summit County Citizens Voice]
-By Laurel Miller