Refugee Trees

Sooke Harbour Douglas-fir in middle of photo, with Sitka spruce lining the beach to the right 

Wherever I go my gaze is automatically drawn to the landscape, especially the trees. Big trees poke out like beacons from the past. They whisper to me of an ancient forest of which they were once a part. Today, many of these trees stand alone.

This old Douglas-fir may be the largest tree on Sooke's Whiffin Spit, and is one of the largest in town

One such tree lives at the west end of Sooke Harbour on Whiffin Spit in Sooke, BC. It is another one of those refugees that dot the land, standing alone surrounded by younger trees and in this case, residential development.

Standing at 30 meters (98 ft) plus, this ancient entity has been here longer than the Europeans who have exploited the original forest to near-extinction.

Sooke is an excellent place to fill your tree spotting life list as it sits in a transitional zone between Vancouver Island's two major ecosystems. To the east and up the inside coast is the dry Coastal Douglas-fir ecozone, and to the west and north is the wetter Western Hemlock ecozone. It is a big tree spotting paradise.

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