1/30/2021

MicroArk Project Invitation



An interesting comment was left here a few days ago. I am posting it to reach a wider audience because it sounds like an amazing opportunity to imagine and implement projects to make a difference. 

MicroArks! I love the sound of that.



Hi there! 

I'm lucky enough to have access to quite a number of native tree seedlings on an East Sooke property. The ones easiest to transplant are between 1-4 yrs old.

There are Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, Hemlock, Spruce, Alder,and Broad Leaf Maple in various quantities.


Also, Salal, Oregon Grape, Huckleberries, Ocean Spray, Salmon and Thimble Berries,and more.

At a Victoria location there are Garry Oaks, Arbutus, and Snowberries. 

There's also some duff infused with Mycorrhizal fungus and epiphytic moss, lichen and liverworts to innoculate the replanting sites. 

I'd really like to find carefully considered locations for replanting and long term care.

I transplanted about 50-60 with a small group of mostly kids a year ago but a repeat didn't happen due to Covid 19.

I'm hoping to connect with any people interested in some small scale, responsible, replanting collaborations in the next few months. Or even to simply discuss the concepts and processes involved.


I feel we need to establish some "MicroArks" consisting of groups of trees and their associated flora and fauna that are carefully considered and cared for.

They will provide examples to be replicated thus beginning the regrowth of truly natural forests for perpetuity.

Thanks for your interest!


Paul Winstanley

Spectrafocus

20/1/21


paul@spectrafocus.ca 250-899-9285 




8/22/2020

Standing Up For Big Trees In Fairy Creek Valley






"If you wanna see real change, you're gonna have to stand up for it."

- Old growth protector at roadblock camp


Old growth forest protectors are standing up for big trees near Port Renfrew (Big Tree Capital of Canada) and blockading the construction of new logging roads into Fairy Creek Valley, the last pristine valley outside of a park on southern Vancouver Island.

In a saner world we would not allow the destruction of such a treasure on Vancouver Island's south coast. But we don't live in a sane world. 

Yet. 

When those that work for us in government fail in their responsibility to protect what is collectively ours, it is up to us to be the real stewards of the land, and protect its inherent right to be. 

If our public servants in government won't speak for a voiceless and defenceless nature, we have to.

Case in point is what is happening outside of Port Renfrew, town to an area long known for its (disappearing) big trees. There, just a few kilometres outside of town, Teal Jones is hacking through previously unhacked forest on their way to get to a pristine valley of big, ancient trees. 

The valley contains an ancient forest that has existed, relatively unchanged, since the last ice age, 10,000 years ago. It is a unique, irreplaceable ecosystem.

Some of the ancient yellow cedars there could be upwards of 2000 years old. 

Cutting trees that old in 2020, when we know better, should be an obvious crime against nature, and all around excellent example of the ongoing ecocide currently plaguing our planet.

Show me nature that has been preserved and protected from industrial butchery, and I will show you a scrappy, dedicated group of caring people that put their bodies on the line to do what is right.

It was such citizen groups dedicated to direct action that saved places like Clayoquot, Elaho, Stein Valley, Carmanah, Strathcona Park, and so many more beautiful places.

Respect, and a heartfelt thanks, to everyone on the Fairy Valley logging road blockades.

We appreciate you standing up for some of the last remaining old growth on south Vancouver Island. 

We support you 100%.



8/15/2020

Big Trees Matter



Big trees are miracles of nature, and should be protected and preserved as such.

In the past we cut gigantic, century (or eons) old trees, sometimes for firewood. We didn't know as much back then as we know now, but how could a person even back then not have reverence for such a tree upon meeting it for the first time?

Who among us, upon seeing one of these incredible beings for the first time, would think, "I want to cut that down"? Even back then it seems odd to a tree enthusiast like myself.

One would think that such miracles of nature would instead be celebrated, honoured, revered, protected and preserved for the miracles that they are. 

Some people and cultures had that approach back then, and still do. In the west we don't (with "we" being non-indigenous residents), or at least we don't enough to stop their destruction once and for all. 

We continue to fell the largest ancients that remain. 

Some is still used for firewood, while old growth fibre ends up supplying ass wipe to the pandemically panicked. 

Who among us today, with what we know about our depleted forests globally, thinks that razing the little old growth that is left benefits people and the planet?

The big trees that are left, wherever they exist on Earth, deserve to be protected and preserved in perpetuity. 

Isn't that what most of us (that don't profit from their destruction) really want?


Big Trees Matter.







8/14/2019

Declaring A Forest Emergency


At this late stage in our ongoing global environmental emergency, the continued cutting of old growth forests in BC (or anywhere) should be considered a crime against humanity. 
We are losing the forests and we are losing the forest creatures. We are losing the soil and the sea, and the atmosphere. All life is in peril. 
For what? Short term profit, another successful election win, unmitigated greed.

“Forests are complex systems that depend on the wildlife that live in them to keep them healthy, and the rapid decrease in forest wildlife in recent decades is an urgent warning sign. 
Forests are our greatest natural ally in the fight against climate breakdown. We lose them at our peril. 
“We need global leaders to declare a planetary emergency and kickstart a global programme of recovery to keep our forests standing to protect our planet.” 
- Baldwin-Cantello, WWF forests specialist

Read "Below The Canopy" here. 


6/03/2019

The Money Huggers Want All The Old Growth



How much of Canada's old growth forests do the money huggers want to cut down? 

All of it. Each and every massive, ancient, beautiful tree, wherever it may be. 

Where we see dendrological miracles, they see only bags of cash. They want to convert all the old growth to those bags that they clutch to their chests as they chuckle maniacally in the wreckage.

And they will get all of it, if we don't stop them. And we can, if we want to bad enough, stop them. They are, after all, our trees.

A recent example of our power to save the old growth concerns the sale of remnant old growth forests near Port Renfrew. No one, other than the money huggers, thought it was a good idea, and said as much quite loudly.

The NDP/Green government, that never should have put the old growth up for sale in the first place, have relented, and the auction never took place. For now.

The cashoterrorists will be back, though. They will keep on coming until all the old growth is gone, or until we get up off our couches and stop them.

What happened in the Port Renfrew forest shows that more of us are up and ready to fight for what is left.

Tree hugging, good. Money hugging, not so much.




4/16/2019

Save BC's Old-Growth Forests

More government lies in order to gift Canada's largest, irreplaceable trees to logging interests.


When I started this blog 10 years ago it was born out of my love for BC's big trees, and my desire to see them all protected. A decade later and they are as imperilled as ever, regardless of which government party is "managing" them. 

Today the NDP government talks of "sustainable harvesting in old growth forests. I assume, therefore, that they have a viable 1,000 year plan for these trees, because that is the only way you could do a sustainable harvest in ancient forests.

Currently cut areas in BC's forests are slated for being re-logged in a 30 to 80 year cycle. How does this sustain the old growth? It does not.

Trees and forests aren't even recognized as old growth until they are at least 250 years old. The oldest old growth forests in BC date from the end of the last ice age 10,000 years old. 

So, Minister Donaldson, show us your comprehensive 1,000 year plan for the sustainable harvest of old growth.

The following is from Save BC's Old-Growth Forests on Facebook:

Evolving over millennia, BC's old-growth forests are a non-renewable resource under BC's current system of forestry, where second-growth forests are typically re-logged every 30-80 years, never to become old-growth again. 
And with close to 80% of productive old-growth forests on Vancouver Island having already been cut, the BC NDP need to wake up and realize there's NO SUCH THING as "sustainable" logging of endangered old-growth forests. 😡 
TAKE ACTION TODAY BY:⏩ 1) Sending a message to the BC government demanding protection for BC's ancient forests and a shift to a sustainable, value-added, second-growth forest industry: www.ancientforestalliance.org/send-a-message 
⏩ 2) Contacting your local MLA and asking them to stand up for ancient forests: www.ancientforestalliance.org/contact-your-mla  



4/14/2019

400 + Foot Douglas Fir Trees More Than Mythical





Some articles you read on historical big trees in Cascadia's region talk about the biggest of the big (the +400 footers) in mythical terms, as if they were no more than loggers tall tales. 

But big tree people know differently - the huge Douglas fir trees existed. What a shame that they don't any more. As far as we currently know...




3/02/2019

The Man Who Saved Big Lonely Doug

Dennis Cronin standing in front of the giant tree he saved.
Photo credit: Lorraine Cronin

In 2014, just as I was moving from Vancouver Island, BC to Nova Scotia, the tree which has become to be known as Big Lonely Doug was discovered by big tree protectors in a former stand of old growth not far from Port Renfrew. 

The giant Douglas fir tree was not hard to find - it was the only tree left in a clear cut block that used to be an ancient grove, and it was hard to miss.


As it turns out, the tree still stands due to the efforts of Mr. Cronin, an industry engineer, that may have been the first person to ever see it. 


To read the fascinating story of how this amazing specimen, the second largest fir in Canada, was saved, click here.


The only Douglas fir tree larger is the Red Creek Fir. This is another significant tree that was also destined for destruction, but was preserved by a logging crew that could not bring themselves to cut such a gigantic tree down.




There goes the neighbourhood.
This is why Big Lonely Doug is so lonely. 
But, better lonely than dead.
Photo credit: TJ Watt

I have never seen the tree that Dennis Cronin, who after decades in the woods and marking untold numbers of giant Pacific Forest trees for removal, decided to save. But the next time I am in Canada's big tree country again, I will.

And when I do, I will think about the man who chose to save Big Lonely Doug, one of the tallest trees (70.2 metres, 230 ft - the height of an 21 story building) he had ever seen, and I will give thanks for his decision.


On a final note, Mr. Cronin died shortly after retiring from his forestry job. By that time he could see that the end of the big trees had come. 


Perhaps his signature tree was one small (or big, depending on how you look at it) way of making amends.



Click here to see the Ancient Forest Alliance Big Trees Map "created with driving directions to Avatar Grove (home to Canada’s “Gnarliest Tree”), Big Lonely Doug (Canada’s 2nd largest Douglas-fir), the Red Creek Fir (the world’s largest Douglas-fir tree), San Juan Spruce (one of Canada’s largest spruce trees), Harris Creek Spruce (another giant sitka spruce), and more!"

2/15/2019

Big Trees + Big Wind = Power Outages and Crushed Cars

After a fierce winter storm I toured Sooke, BC to assess the damage. It was extensive.


The west coast has had its share of gnarly weather this winter, with vast and prolonged power outages. And probably more than a few crushed vehicles.

It reminds me of when I was living on Billing Spit in Sooke, BC. It was there, on the top floor of an older 3 floor waterfront apartment building, that I experienced one of the scariest weather events of my life.


A December wind storm hit just before Christmas. With gusts over 100km, the storm initially woke me up as my bed, and the whole building, was shaking. 


The air pressure had blown all the water out of the sink drain traps in our apartment, and the air rushing through the pipes was making a wailing sound like I have never heard before, or since.


My wife and I retrieved our Bug Out Bags, and set them by the front door. We were ready to evacuate and seek shelter somewhere safer. Preferably, somewhere where there weren't waves crashing over the sea wall and spraying on to our front balcony.


We looked out our back window to see our building caretaker fighting off a large piece of vinyl siding wrapped around him, threatening to launch him into the dark night sky.


In the end, we rode out the storm in our shaking and vibrating unit. Escape was impossible, unless we left on foot, since there were large trees down everywhere, including in our parking lot. 


The next morning, when the wind subsided, I went out to see that the roof of the twin building next door ripped completely off, and landed in the parking lot behind the building. Our neighbours were homeless for weeks until repairs were completed.


We were all without power for almost a week.


Our roof stayed put, perhaps due to the fact that our building, unlike the one next door, had large trees protecting it. 


The big trees giveth, the big trees taketh away. 


But I love them all the same.






12/25/2018

Big Coastal Christmas Trees

One of the big conifers in the distance is decorated with two bald eagles at the top
Note: originally posted December 18, 2011.

I went for a walk today to look for Christmas and it was nowhere to be seen. There was no snow or hanging icicles, and it was sunny and a balmy +9 degrees Celsius. However, we do have some of the largest Christmas trees in the world growing here, and I discovered some nice ones.

Conifers are the traditional Christmas trees of choice, and the Pacific coastal forest is dominated by conifers. Douglas-fir is the second most popular Christmas tree sold in North America. Young trees have a nice conical shape, and the needles are sweet smelling when crushed. But if you like your trees big, and alive, this is the place to see them. We are at the edge of coastal Douglas-fir territory in Sooke.

The biggest Douglas-fir in the world grows near here in the woods close to Port Renfrew. You would need a lot of tinsel for that behemoth, which is 73.8m (242') in height, 13.3m (43.7') in circumference, and 4.2m (14') in diameter. But I wasn't looking in Port Renfrew for big trees as I wanted to stick closer to home.

Big Sitka spruce overlooking beach
The place I went exploring for giant conifers was in the Wiffen Spit neighbourhood. There I found a right of way leading to a set of stairs down to the beach. It is a great place to see big trees on the top of the high banks, as well as those that have fallen below or washed in off the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

We celebrate trees and their importance this time of year when we hack one out of the forest and bring it into our homes to dry up and die. Then they are unceremoniously dumped at the curbside. Here in clear cut territory, it seems like an extravagant waste.

If you go without the traditional indoor dead tree this year, and you are in the Sooke region, Wiffin Spit is the place to go to see a live tree that is anonymously decorated every year.

The Wiffin Spit tree is a short hike from the parking lot, and is now the most notable live decorated tree in town since town council grinches gave the green light about a year ago to remove two beautiful, completely healthy heritage Douglas-fir trees right in the center of town. Read about their sad demise here.

Biggest Christmas tree on Vancouver Island until being
unceremoniously cut down by The Grinch
The 150 year old Douglas-fir trees were replaced by two 2m tall exotic Norway spruce. I noticed the other day that one was decorated, but it just doesn't measure up to the giant it replaced.

Happy holidays.