The mountain pine beetle, that scourge of British Columbia’s inland forests, has officially reached new heights of infamy. Yesterday, provincial Premier Gordon Campbell called it, "the most significant natural disaster to ever hit British Columbia’s forests." The province is planning to spend Can$100 million to stop the estimated 1.13 trillion tree-killing bugs. (Incidentally, that means that pine beetles outnumber people by about a quarter-million to one in BC.)

One ray of hope perhaps, is Blue Pine Products, a Prince George-based manufacturer selling small wood items that showcase the intricate blue streaking of beetle-killed wood. Their products seem mostly too small to have a serious impact on forestry in BC, but it’s a start toward finding commercial uses for the beetle trees.