Climbing Big Lonely Doug, Canada’s 2nd Largest Douglas-fir Tree | Video Blog
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Raw video shot by TJ Watt and Will Koomjian (GoPro)
• Height: 66 m (216 ft) (broken top)
• Width: 4 m (12 ft)
• Circumference: 12 m (39 ft)
• Estimated age: ~1000 years old
Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island — “Big Lonely Doug”, the recently found, second-largest Douglas-fir tree in Canada, has been scaled by a team of professional tree-climbers. The climbers with the Arboreal Collective are collaborating with the Ancient Forest Alliance, a BC-based conservation organization, to highlight, research, and document the largest old-growth trees and grandest groves in British Columbia. Big Lonely Doug stands alone in a 2012 clearcut, hence its name.
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The Arboreal Collective’s Matthew Beatty, Tiger Devine, Dan Holliday, and the Ancient Forest Alliance’s TJ Watt, were also joined by Will Koomjian from Ascending the Giants, a similar research and awareness-raising organization of tree-climbers based in Portland, and by photographer James Frystak. The Arboreal Collective also collaborates on research with the BC Big Tree Registry, run by the University of British Columbia, a register of the largest measured trees in the province.
Big Lonely Doug grows in the Gordon River Valley near the coastal town of Port Renfrew on southern Vancouver Island, known as the “Tall Trees Capital” of Canada. It 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. It was first measured and recognized as exceptionally large by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in March of this year.
Big Lonely Doug stands alone among dozens of giant stumps — some 3 meters wide – of old-growth western redcedars and Douglas-firs, in a roughly 20 hectare clearcut that was logged in 2012. One of its largest branches was recently torn off in a fierce wind/snow storm in February, with a 50 centimeter wide base (the size of most second-growth trees) and still fresh needles lying on the ground adjacent to the tree.
Government data from 2012 show that about 75% of the original, productive old-growth forests on BC’s southern coast (Vancouver Island and Southwest Mainland) have been logged, including over 90% of the highest productivity, valley bottom ancient stands where the largest trees grow. 99% of the old-growth Douglas-fir trees on BC’s coast have also been logged. The BC government often grossly overinflates the amount of remaining ancient forests in BC by releasing statistics that include vast tracts of bog and subalpine forests consisting of small, stunted old-growth trees of little to no commercial value, combined with the less extensive tracts of the large, old-growth trees growing on more productive sites at risk of being logged.
Read the full press release on the climb here: