In what is being called the most significant big tree discovery in decades, a group of conservationists believe they have found Canada's second largest Douglas-fir.
Preliminary measurements were taken of the tree, located in a clearcut in B.C.'s Gordon River Valley, on Thursday by conservationists with the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA). Nicknamed Big Lonely Doug, the tree is about 39 ft. in circumference and 226 ft. tall, according to a press release issued on Friday.
Big Lonely Doug is estimated to be about 1,000 years old.
"This is a tree with a trunk as wide as a living room and stands taller than downtown skyscrapers,” TJ Watt, an AFA photographer and campaigner, said in the release.
"Big Lonely Doug’s total size comes in just behind the current champion Douglas-fir, the Red Creek Fir, the world’s largest, which grows just one valley over [in B.C.]."
Watt first noticed Big Lonely Doug several months ago but only returned to measure the tree on Thursday along with AFA co-founder Ken Wu.
The Gordon River Valley is located near Port Renfrew on the southern part of Vancouver Island, known as the "Tall Trees Capital" of Canada. As the release states, Big Lonely Doug "stands on Crown lands in Tree Farm Licence 46 held by the logging company Teal-Jones, in the unceded traditional territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation band."
Big Lonely Doug is a rather fitting name for the large Douglas-fir that stands alone in an otherwise empty area.
“The fact that all of the surrounding old-growth trees have been clearcut around such a globally exceptional tree, putting it at risk of being damaged or blown down by wind storms, underscores the urgency for new provincial laws to protect B.C.’s largest trees, monumental groves, and endangered old-growth ecosystems,” said Wu in the news release.
The AFA also warned that the number of tall trees similar to Big Lonely Doug are growing scarce in the Pacific Northwest.
“The days of colossal trees like these are quickly coming to an end as the timber industry cherry-picks the last unprotected, valley-bottom, lower elevation ancient stands in southern B.C. where giants like this grow.”
Staff from the Ministry of Forests will take official measurements of Big Lonely Doug in early April.
See photos of Big Lonely Doug:
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