Loggers For Old Growth Protection

Sometimes we cut 'em, and sometimes we don't
I was reading an article in the Globe and Mail on saving old growth forests - Avatar Grove, I think. The most interesting part, though, was not the article, but the comments after the piece.

Comments came from a wide spectrum of readers, including many from loggers, retired and otherwise. It made me think about the wealth of knowledge these people have, and how that could be useful in our efforts to protect old growth forests.

Take, for instance, the following comment:

"The biggest red cedar I ever saw was 27 feet in diameter and about 200 feet tall (cedar don't get very tall ) with dozens of candelabras. The faller came and told us,"You better go have a look 'cause I'm cuttin' it down tomorrow." He seemed kind of sad about it. We took a photo of the crew sitting in the undercut. It was in the Nit Nat Lake area.

Maybe the trees in the article aren't actually the biggest of their kind. One story I heard was that when representatives of the Champion Tree Society went to verify the size of a candidate for biggest Sitka spruce (somewhere in Washington, I think), there was initial disappointment that the specimen was somewhat smaller than the biggest spruce known. Then they just happened to find a vine maple nearby: four feet in diameter! Lucky or what?

I worked in the woods in BC for many years and saw lots of places that probably should have been protected from logging. Once, up to Soatwoon Lake (near Fair Harbour), we were cruising a big bowl of pretty run-of-the-mill giant red cedars. The exceptional thing was that the stand included thousands of Pacific yew two to three feet, occasionally more, in diameter. Never saw anything like that before or since. They are all gone now.

Just to quell the idea that all loggers are rapacious, let me tell you about a stand we discovered near the White River. What looked at first like an ordinary stand of giant red cedars, on closer inspection turned out to be an almost pure stand of yellow cedar. They were so big that, at first glance, they looked like red cedar (yellow cedar don't normally get as big) and, except for this area, don't normally form pure stands at lower elevations.

A few years later there was an article in the local newspaper that the IWA fallers refused to fall this stand because of its uniqueness. The company (I think it was M&B) subsequently preserved the area.

" - BCahoutec

We can thank conservation-minded loggers over history that take a stand and refuse to destroy what they know are special trees.

The Red Creek Fir, found near Port Renfrew, is one such tree. Rumour has it that when the first loggers approached the tree through the wet, tangled, green forest, they thought they were at the base of a cliff. They had lunch, then continued on their way.

A second group of loggers found the giant tree and marveled at its size. It was the end of the day so they left for camp. In camp the second group asked the first about the huge tree they came across. As they talked about it, the lunch group realized they had eaten not at the base of a cliff, but at the base of a wall of wood, the 4.23 meter wide Red Creek Fir. 

The men did not cut the monumental tree. Today it stands as the largest Douglas-fir in the world, with a volume of 349 cubic meters (12, 318 cu ft).

1 comment:

  1. About 6 years ago, my big-tree hunting (and photographer extraordinaire) twin brother had to skirt a logging operation within a half-mile of the Red Creek Fir! I would be surprised if that giant is still alive today.


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