6/21/2012

Mapping BC's Big Tree Registry


View Original Map by Craig Williams




Red Creek Fir, Port Renfrew
As big tree tourism gains momentum in British Columbia's forests, people increasingly want to know "where are the biggest, tallest, oldest trees?"

The map above, compiled by Craig Williams, shows the locations of many trees on British Columbia's Big Tree Registry, as well as other notable trees.

One of the trees on the map is the Red Creek Fir near Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island. This monument to the primal forest of old is the largest Douglas-fir in the world. It has an estimated wood volume of 349 cubic meters.

BC's registry of big trees has the ambitious task of recording the top 10 largest and tallest known trees of each of the province's 50 plus native species.

But listed trees are only the known champions. It is probable that larger trees exist in nooks and crannies of little visited, remote locations in the BC wilderness, or possibly even in your own urban neighbourhood or park area.

BC's tree registry depends on the public to find and nominate trees for inclusion in the list of notable specimens.  Although you will see the names of professional tree hunters like Robert Van Pelt on BC's registry, most trees have been nominated by interested amateurs.

Sooke's old school tree hunter, Maywell Whickheim, had the distinction of adding Canada's largest tree, the Cheewhat Cedar, to the registry. He has hinted that an even larger Western red-cedar exists somewhere in the green, dripping, rain forest of southern Vancouver Island.

He is not saying where the tree is, leaving that to present and future big tree hunters looking for a record-breaker.

It is hard to imagine a cedar larger than the mighty Cheewhat tree (which can be found in a remote part of Pacific Rim National Park, east of Cheewhat Lake).

Cheewhat Cedar, Pacific Rim Nat. Park, largest Western red cedar in BC
Largest tree in Canada
This champion is a girthy 18.34 m (60 ft) in circumference, 55.5 m (182 ft) in height, with a crown spread of 15.60 m (51 ft), 917 American Forestry Association points, and a wood volume of 449 sq m.

You can zoom in on the Cheewhat Cedar, and other champions from the BC Big Tree Registry, on the map above. Click on the tree icons for more information on type of tree, its location, and more.

You can also click on the link under the map to visit the original that has additional handy features. Our 'Visit Them' page also has more information on the locations of some of Vancouver Island's champion trees.


The Carmanah Giant is BC's tallest Sitka spruce, 95 m (313 ft) tall
Carmanah/Walbran Provincial Park
You may even develop an interest in becoming a big tree hunter yourself, and adding some champions to the provincial registry. That is what Randy Stoltmann did, and he ended up saving a bunch of them, too, like the amazing Sitka spruce of Carmanah/Walbran Provincial Park. Many of BC's champion trees, like Port Renfrew's Red Creek Fir, still have no official protected status.

Randy's name appears in the Big Tree Registry more times than any other, the result of a short (he died in a wilderness accident in 1994), but serious period of exploration in BC's exceptional forests.

Nominations to the registry are always welcome, and can be submitted on the UBC Forestry website.

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