The Douglas fir tree, estimated to be around 500 years old, two metres in diameter, and 58 metres tall, fell on Dec. 8, 2020 due to natural causes. (Submitted photo)

The Douglas fir tree, estimated to be around 500 years old, two metres in diameter, and 58 metres tall, fell on Dec. 8, 2020 due to natural causes. (Submitted photo)

Fallen giant: 500-year-old tree falls in B.C. park

‘The good news is that the tree has a sister just a few metres away — even larger — that lives on’

By Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A giant has fallen in North Vancouver.

Capilano River Regional Park has said goodbye to one of its last standing sentinel trees.

The Douglas fir tree, estimated to be around 500 years old, two metres in diameter, and 58 metres tall, fell on Dec. 8, 2020 due to natural causes.

“It was felled by laminated root rot, a natural process that affects many Douglas fir trees as well as other conifers,” said a Metro Vancouver Regional Parks spokesperson.

Laminated root rot is caused by a fungal pathogen, Phellinus weirii, which spreads when healthy roots of a tree come into contact with diseased roots. It’s one of the most damaging root diseases in British Columbia for Douglas fir and grand fir trees, according to the province’s Field Guide to Forest Damage in B.C. report.

“The disease causes root decay, which can lead to significant growth reduction, and makes trees susceptible to toppling,” the report states.

The huge tree was a familiar sight to park visitors on the Giant Fir Trail and survived its fair share of battles over the hundreds of years it stood tall watching over the forest.

“This tree survived centuries of challenges, from fierce storms to raging fires, attacks by insects, fungus and disease,” said the spokesperson.

“It also escaped the axes and saws of logging in the early 1900s.”

READ MORE: Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Fortunately, there are other surviving giant Douglas fir trees in the park.

“The good news is that the tree has a sister just a few metres away — even larger — that lives on,” said the spokesperson. The well-known Grandfather Capilano is also nearby, estimated to be more than 800 years old.

The fallen tree will now remain in the forest — with a new purpose.

“The fallen tree will be left in place and has already begun the process of giving back to the forest ecosystem,” said the spokesperson. “Insects will break down the wood. Birds, squirrels, and other creatures will make their home in the hollowed-out spaces and feed on the insects.”

“Bit by bit, the nutrients contained in the fallen tree will be released back into the forest floor and will be used by surrounding trees to grow bigger and taller.”

Trending Now

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vanderhoof municipal office sign on Burrard Avenue. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof council discuss requests from NWRI, airport, BC Wildfire

District of Vanderhoof held their regular public meeting of council on April… Continue reading

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

To send in Letters to the Editor, email aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com
Letter: Increased aggression towards staff at Omineca Medical clinic

Dr. Davy Dhillon writes letter on behalf of the clinic

Basin Snow Water Index map for Apr. 1, 2021. (BC River Forecast Centre photo/Lakes District News)
Snowpack above normal for Upper Fraser West basin

Snowpack assessments for early April reveals above normal levels for northwestern British… Continue reading

Four young women prepare to model Magic Wand dresses at a fashion show. Magic Wand provides grad dresses and tuxedos for a nominal fee. (Submitted File Photo)
Nominations available for Cindrella Dreams Program in Vanderhoof

New organizer excited to help graduates with formal wear

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

B.C. Attorney General David Eby, Minister Responsible for Housing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. announces $2B for affordable, middle-income family home projects

HousingHub financing to encourage more developers, groups – with low-interest loans – to build affordable homes

Most Read