6/17/2013

Salvaging The Last Of The Cedar

This fallen cedar makes a good bench along the Sooke River

You can tell how valuable cedar wood is by the lengths that people will go to harvest these quintessential rain forest trees. Such is the story up the Sooke River where a nice Western red cedar gave in to gravity and fell into the water.


It did not lay there for long before someone brought in a chainsaw to take the log, which could be used for a wide variety of purposes from beams to boxes.


There are still a few old growth cedars left along the Sooke River, one of
Vancouver Island's largest rivers.
The cut log would have had to be floated down the river to the harbour, a distance of a couple of kilometres, where it could be plucked from the water.


The cedar's roots were undercut by the river till it could no longer stand.


A spear of cedar remains upright, a monument to
the cedar's original destination.



Heartwood of cedar shows its beautiful grain and texture. 

The wood of cedar is sturdy, rot resistant, and smells nice. These qualities, coupled with greed, have doomed the big trees to extinction. The Americans have already lost theirs as the big cedars along the coast of California, Oregon and Washington were consumed long ago.

Now logging companies are targeting the last big cedars remaining, which can be found in British Columbia. More specifically, on Vancouver Island where the largest of these large trees grow. Many of the trees cut down are exported as whole logs to overseas markets. There goes the neighbourhood.


The cut log is a nice place to sit under the feathery cedars,
and watch small salmon in the river below.

Although the tree in the river was probably not more than a few hundred years old, and relatively small as cedars go, it was still worth the substantial effort that it must have taken to cut and remove this tree from the forest along the river.

It will take similar efforts to halt the logging of our remaining old growth Western red cedars and Yellow cedars on Vancouver Island and the rest of British Columbia. 

Consider boycotting products made from first growth trees that could be upwards of a thousand years old. These ancient trees are an important part of not only the forest ecosystem, but also First Nations culture and way of life.

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