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

The Campbell River Sportsplex in Willow Point is the voting station for the Feb. 27 municipal byelection. Voting runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
Voting underway in Campbell River’s municipal byelection

You can cast your ballot today at the Sportsplex until 8 p.m.

With the full build-out of its 477 Hilchey Road development almost complete, Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North is setting its sights on its next batch of housing: right next door. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Habitat for Humanity looks to start a third Hilchey Road project

With the current site on Hilchey Road in the final stage of… Continue reading

Ian Baikie shows the new kitchen space at Hama?Elas shortly before the facility opened late last year. Mirror File Photo.
Campbell River City Council updated on Hama?Elas and Kwesa Place

Funding was set to run out at end of March, but organizers say they can go another six months

Tyson Popove placed second in his category at the Mt. Washington Viewtour Virtual Slopestyle event. Photo by Shawn Corrigan
Campbell River skier goes big at Mt. Washington competition

Tyson Popove places second in virtual slopestyle event

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Most Read