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

Millstream Village is welcoming a new Marshalls location March 9. (Photo courtesy GWL Realty Advisors)
New Marshalls store in Langford brings boost to women in need

Retailer will hold opening ceremony in Millstream Village March 9

Abstract Developments is donating $75,000 to support community programming at The Cridge Centre for the Family. (Courtesy of The Cridge Centre)
Victoria developer builds support for community programs

Abstract Developments donates $75,000 to The Cridge Centre for the Family

SD 62 (Sooke) has announced a COVID-19 exposure at David Cameron Elementary in Colwood. Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Black Press Media File).
COVID-19 exposure at Colwood’s David Cameron Elementary

Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Office vacancy rates are rising in Greater Victoria while the supply of industrial land is shrinking. (Black Press Media File)
Report finds supply of industrial land in Greater Victoria shrinking

Office vacancy rates in Greater Victoria continue to rise

Central Saanich has received funding for a new multi-use pathway that promises to improve access to Butchart Gardens. (Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich receives grant for multi-use pathway to Butchart Gardens

Province funds entirety of $322,800 project through economic recovery grant program

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic oportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

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

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

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’

Most Read