A film by Dillon Osleger
Travel along any high elevation trail in Western North America and you are bound to encounter three things: pines with orange needles, trees fallen across the trail and evidence of wildfires. All three are symptoms of climate change. While we can all relate to these factors, few recognize them all as the result of a beetle. The pine bark beetle is prolific throughout the Rockies, Sierra and Cascades and recently has a growing (and soon to be historic) relationship with high elevation forests. By linking up with the Mountain Studies Institute (MSI), the National Park Service scientists studying beetle and pine relationships and the organizations at the forefront of trails and advocacy in California, we can tell a story of interconnectedness, climate and cycling.
Osleger showcases the impacts of the pine bark beetle in his short film, Usufruct which is about three friends on an atypical bikepacking trip near Durango, Colorado. Instead of planning a route with the best riding or most scenic vistas, they opt to ride through burn zones and beetle kill areas, diving into the impact and implications that climate change is having on their home trails. Their goal is to learn what they can do–and what we all can do– to start to change the tide.
Directors: Adam Wells and Andy Cochrane
Producers: Andy Cochrane and Dillon Osleger
Cinematography: Adam Wells
Editor: Ryan Scura Animation: Nico Schiavone
Color grading: Evan Green
Additional Footage: Keenan Desplanques, Evan Green, Denver7 News, USFS, Getty Images