|The Carmanah Giant: Diameter - 3 m (10ft), Height - 95 m (315ft), Age - 500 to 700 years|
The Carmanah Giant is a monumentally tall Sitka spruce growing in the Carmanah Creek canyon in Carmanah/Walbran Provincial Park. It is the tallest tree in Canada, and the tallest Sitka spruce in the world. The Giant lives in one of the tallest forests on the planet, and is an excellent example of the vanishing primeval forest that once blanketed Vancouver Island.
The trees of the Carmanah and Walbran watersheds escaped the saw for a long time due to their remote location on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. But the arrival of the timber cruisers, bulldozers, road builders, and fallers was inevitable, and in the 1980s they finally came.
If it were not for conservation efforts, starting with Randy Stoltmann, this magnificent tree and all its neighbours would have surely been razed in a clear cut that would have represented a huge global loss. It would have been a loss, as well, to the pairs of endangered Marbeled murrelets that nest only on the huge branches of old growth trees.
I am glad this incredible tree and the forest in which it grows were saved from impending destruction. However, the Carmanah Giant is not in the "See Them" category of big trees. Visitation to some parts of this park, including the Carmanah Giant, is discouraged in order to avoid the devastating potential results of unregulated access.
Even though I feel the lure of the big trees, many individual trees get loved to death by tourists. For me it is good enough to know that the Carmanah Giant is out there, growing, thriving, and perpetuating 12,000 years of continuous forest processes and cycles.
Photo credit: Iriemaan