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World’s Largest Douglas Fir Under Threat

GreenMuze, March 1, 2010

World’s Largest Douglas Fir Under Threat
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Logging markings in Port Renfrew.
Image courtesy TJ Watt

Please Note: Keith Martin supports an expansion of Pacific Rim National Park, not necessarily the heritage trees designation as stated in the article.

The world’s largest Douglas fir tree, the famous Red Creek Fir tree, located in Port Renfrew at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, remains vulnerable to the effects of logging in an adjacent old-growth forest, claim environmentalists.

The Red Creek Fir giant, a major tourist attraction in the region, stretches more than 73.8m (242ft) in height with a trunk 4.2m (13’ 9”) wide, has environmentalists concerned that the venerable fir will loose its forest padding sheltering the enormous tree to future logging in the area.

“They’ve already logged almost 90% of the old-growth forests on the south island, including 99% of the ancient Douglas firs,” explains Ken Wu, co-founder of the newly-formed Ancient Forest Alliance.

A Ministry of Forest and Range spokesperson, in a recent Times Colonist interview, stated that British Columbia Timber Sales has no immediate plans to log in the area.

However, Ancient Forest Alliance, in conjunction with Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP Keith Martin, want the British Columbia government to establish a Provincial Heritage Trees designation that will identify and protect the 100 largest and oldest specimens of each of the province’s tree species. Currently there is no provincial legislation that specifically protects the largest or oldest specimens of BC’s world-renowned old-growth trees.

“If we have laws that recognize and protect heritage buildings that are 100 years old, why don’t we have laws that recognize and protect our 1000 year old heritage trees? How many jurisdictions have trees that can grow as wide as a living room and as tall as a downtown skyscraper,” asks TJ Watt, photographer and co-founder of the Ancient Forest Alliance.

British Columbia is home to a number of record-size ancient trees including the world’s largest Douglas fir (the Red Creek Fir near Port Renfrew), the world’s second largest western red cedar (the Cheewhat Cedar by the West Coast Trail/ Nitinat Lake), and the world’s second largest Sitka spruce tree (the San Juan Spruce by Port Renfrew). The majority of British Columbia giant trees lack official recognition or protection.

world's largest Douglas fir tree
Ken Wu stands beside the Red Creek Fir tree. Image courtesy TJ Watt.


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