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!"