2012-09-08

Grande Prairie Alberta’s battlefront in the war on pine beetles

From 4,000 feet above, the Alberta forest unfolds like a wild, undulating carpet.

The poplars are ablaze in autumn gold, rivers and ponds are shimmering, the canopy of trees is mostly a vibrant green. Off in the distance, snow covers Mount Ida, the 11,000-foot peak that is considered the Matterhorn of the northern Rockies.

But slowly, the lush healthy woods give way to patches of grey and red as strands of trees infested with mountain pine beetles come into view. Many of the trees are dying, others are already dead.