It’s mid-September and the trees in the mountains are changing color in the beautiful Rocky Mountain region of the Colorado forests. It’s a time of year where many enjoy an afternoon drive through the scenic mountain ranges to soak up the sights of fiery foliage. The aspens are changing from lush greens to vibrant reds, oranges and golds. It’s a sight to behold! But among the beauty there presents yet another shift of shades: A dreary darkness of grey replacing what where once lavish green pine trees covering millions of acres of forest. Meet the Rocky Mountain Pine Beetle, destroyer of pine trees in epic proportions. These critters lay eggs under the tree bark and leave a blue stain fungus, that in conjunction with larval feeding, blocks nutrient and water transport within the trees whereby completely killing them. Nineteen of our beautiful western states and 88 million acres of forest have been aggressively devastated by this MPB – and this is what is literally eating our forests.
Also concerning is how this issue has affected and continues to affect our mountain recreational areas. Standing, dead, lodge pole pines pose a safety risk when left by roadsides, campgrounds, lakes and trails. State agencies have struggled to clear out the hazardous wood, leaving some areas closed indefinitely for clean-up. And for all you recreational enthusiasts, fitness fanatics and overall outdoorsmen and women, this means our mountain fitness centers have been compromised! Hikers and bikers, backpackers, skiers and snowboarders and lovers of Mother Nature — along with the very activities that we all enjoy so much and that are the staples of our healthy lifestyles — are being threatened.
To sum it all up, dead trees are affecting our recreational areas causing closures or temporary closures due to increased fire risk, increased flooding and erosion are devastating our trails (biking, backcountry skiing, hiking), the landscape of ski resorts is changing and the list goes on. We are losing out on enjoying our mountain outdoor fitness opportunities and need to find a way to help clean up our forests.
My husband and I founded Studio Re3 on the core values to repurpose, reclaim, and restore materials. Holding to a dream of restoring our forests one tree at a time, we are focusing on using discarded blue stain pine to build furniture and other accessories, all the while, helping to return our recreational areas to the safe and usable space we all once enjoyed. You see, forest restoration IS good for our health!
You can learn more by clicking to our RocketHub project where you can join us in our efforts to make a difference in our forests, which in turn can help us all to keep both ourselves and the land and forests fit! To find out more, click to www.studiore3.com and click on the RocketHub link.
About the Author
Carol J. Martens is an artist and philanthropist writing from her home in Northern Colorado. She and her husband have founded their business on the pledge, “to do their part in keeping waste out of landfills and helping restore natural resources.” The eclectic mix of education and life experiences they share, coupled with a love of the Rocky Mountains, continue to shape their vision as showcased in the stunning and unique products they create.
© 2014 Studio RE3