Big Trees In The City

These huge Sitka spruce rounds are from the removal of an urban old growth tree 
I don't know why people choose to cut significant urban trees down - I am not an arborist or a professional forester, nor do I think that trees 'get in the way'. However, there are justifiable reasons for the removal of an oversized giant or sick tree as they can be a safety hazard.

A letter to the city of Langford from a resident living under the large Douglas-fir heritage trees that line Humpback Road, highlights the potential danger.
"Last Friday, April 2nd, we had a terrific windstorm; with wind-gusts approaching 110 kmh. The result of that was a rather frightening experience for ALL the residents that live in the part of Humpback with the old, gigantic trees lining this portion of the road. Once again, for the umpteenth time, a powerful hail of tree debris came battering at the homes next to the trees."
It is a bummer when significant trees do need to be removed, but it is even worse when no sane reason exists. Like when the infamous developer Len Barry had workers cut some large trees on the other side of his property line, on The Royal Colwood Golf Course. The course is covered in an urban forest that contains many significant older trees. Barry had the trees removed to improve the view from his mansion.

Sam, a Vancouver Island Big Trees reader, recently commented on my post about Gulf View Picnic Area in North Saanich. He described how a landowner started the new year by falling a big Grand fir hundred of years old right on the border of this public space. Large, old Grand fir are not a long lived species.

Sam's comment about the unfortunate demise of another one of our large urban trees reminded me of an urban giant brought down in the ex-logging town of Sooke a few years back.

I spotted the huge Sitka spruce rounds in the photos at a residence in 2005. This old growth tree predated European settlement in the area, by a hundred years or more.

The tree's removal must have been an operation as big as the old Sitka itself. It is a challenge to bring these giants down without squishing anyone or anything.

When I happened by on a bike ride, the deed was done. I was puzzled - the wood looked sound. I wondered why this apparently healthy survivor had to be destroyed.

But then again, I didn't have to live next to it during a winter gale. As it was, it might have made a lot of beautiful guitars.

Today's luthiers are vexed by a dwindling supply of the old spruce (300 years+) that produce the best quality instrument wood. Guitar builder Bob Taylor said, "We are only a few short years away, using current logging practices, from seeing the end of any guitar-sized trees."

The massive spruce that was cut in Sooke is, years later, still providing the homeowner with fire wood.

1 comment:

  1. No matter what we say or complain because of them cutting those big urban trees, we cannot do anything though. It is aching to see that those trees are just being even if THEY know the consequences of cutting trees.


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