12/18/2010

Sooke Core To Lose Landmark Big Trees

These landmark Douglas-fir trees will be coming down soon.
They are shown here being decorated with Xmas lights last year.
Talk about getting a lump of coal in your Xmas stocking. I found out yesterday in the Sooke News Mirror, the once-a-week newspaper, that two of the town's landmark trees will be coming down soon. Evergreen Mall will soon be Evergreenless Mall, just as Cedar Grove Shopping Mall just down the street became Cedar Groveless Mall a couple of years back.

I have always thought it was a wonderful tip of the hat to the past to have two large natural trees in the middle of town. A nod to the history of the 10, 000 year old forest that existed here, and to the 150 years it has taken us to use it up.

These towering Douglas-fir have been green beacons for decades. While not huge, these trees are significant landmarks to the area, town, and people. I am confident careful consideration was taken in deciding to bring them down.

Big trees on Vancouver Island break most people's notions of big - they are truly super-sized. Often such trees are not compatible with urban areas, as nice as it is to have them around. Limbs and whole trees can fall harming people and property during wind storms. And trees, like us, eventually fall prey to a variety of health issues with age making them more dangerous.

Detail showing little men in a big tree
It is reported that the two classic conifers gracing Sooke's town centre are of ill health, even though they are probably not much older than about 150 years. Douglas-fir are long-lived trees that can survive for up to ten centuries. It looks like these trees won't be seeing that kind of history.

So farewell to the green beacons that I gaze upon every day from home. I have taken comfort in their steadfast nature, and have been amazed that against all odds they lasted this long right in the middle of town. Let us not forget that at one time giants stood here.

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