Death of a forest giant

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Blog entry by timrowledge posted 04-06-2010 07:00 AM 1175 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We had some nasty spring storms last week on Vancouver Island and around Vancouver generally. Winds were reported at around 145 klicks (that’s around 90mph for you folks in Yanquistan) and a lot of trees fell. Power outages hit a lot of people including us.

One of the casualties locally was this huge Douglas Fir in the Little Qualicum River Falls provincial park. Just a couple of days before we had walked past it and admired the sheer scale of the monster. Yesterday we walked the park again and almost literally stumbled over it strewn across the path. It’s quite weird to find something like that because it simply doesn’t fit with what you expect to see. The path was simply covered with trunk disappearing into the distance and I kept trying to see where my route went.
150ft of trunk stretching away
One of the first things I noticed was the way the impact had shattered the main trunk
shattered like a matchstick - a 4ft diameter matchstick!
I peered into the cracks and the grain seemed incredibly tight. It feels just wrong that such beautiful wood should be left to rot away. I know it is part of the normal cycle of the forest but I’d prefer to see all that carbon remain sequestered for a couple of hundred years in a piece of furniture. Part of the problem in this area is that the soil is incredibly shallow and very rocky. It’s only a few thousand years since the glaciers retreated and on these mountain slopes there simply hasn’t been much soil created. Combine poor soil depth, rocks and insects with a tall tree and you get this
next to no roots
I estimate that this 150ft tall tree with a roughly 4ft diameter base had less than 1ft diameter equivalent of root holding it down. Or up.

So, when this tree fell in forest with no man there to hear it, was he still wrong?

9 comments so far

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3272 days

#1 posted 04-06-2010 07:02 AM

And here in Chilliwack we didn’t get a breath of wind. So what happens to that fallen tree – can you grab a few thousand pounds?


View Hallmark's profile


432 posts in 3253 days

#2 posted 04-06-2010 08:09 AM

The same wind storm broke a hinge on my trucks door as I was getting my daughter out from the back seat. Bummer.

-- Style is simple, but not my execution of it.

View timrowledge's profile


45 posts in 3680 days

#3 posted 04-06-2010 08:19 PM

Sadly the tree is – so far as I understand it – untouchable. It’s in a provincial park and I’m not a logging company so I don’t get to run a huge truck out there and clear cut the entire region for free.

And really, it broke a hinge? Wow, that’s a bit breezy. You’re probably fortunate it didn’t blow the door closed on your fingers. That happened to one of my nephews some years ago and you probably wouldn’t believe how much mess a pair of burst fingers can create. All healed up ok eventually though.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18616 posts in 4308 days

#4 posted 04-07-2010 05:32 PM

it’s so sad to see a Grand Ol’ tree such as that meet the ends of its “vertical days”.

(and yes—still wrong)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3187 days

#5 posted 04-07-2010 06:44 PM

Living in Oklahoma we know the power of the wind! It can take anything out!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Bothus's profile


441 posts in 3323 days

#6 posted 04-07-2010 06:55 PM

It was a little windy here in L.A. the other day. Almost mussed my hair.


-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

View timrowledge's profile


45 posts in 3680 days

#7 posted 04-08-2010 07:10 AM

Oh dear, poor Bothus! I hear it sometimes gets so windy in LA that you have to put the top up on the convertible :-)

Having visited, I think I’ll take the 30 second hailstorm we had a couple of days ago over the hail of bullets that seems to sweep over LA regularly.
More seriously, I was very discomforted by being in a place where 9+ million people live in 4000 sq.miles whereas VI has 750 thousand in 12,000 sq.miles.

View timrowledge's profile


45 posts in 3680 days

#8 posted 06-21-2010 06:16 AM

Small update on the tree – we walked by it a couple of days ago and the park rangers had cut it into sections to clear the path. I was able to count a good 150 growth rings across the biggest section.

Now if only I could find a way to lawfully get hold of that 8ft section…

View a1Jim's profile


117236 posts in 3724 days

#9 posted 06-21-2010 07:07 AM

If only it could serve a useful purpose instead of being chopped into firewood.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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