Big Lonely Doug

A tribute to Big Lonely Doug, Canada’s second-largest Douglas fir at nearly 70 m high. I had mixed feelings about this visit: on the one hand it was amazing to see such an impressive tree so clearly, and a treat to be able to get a closer look, but to see it standing alone in a huge clearcut was very sobering. 🌲

It occurred to me that celebrating these few remaining big trees is like getting a coupon for money off. Sure, it’s great to think about what you’re saving but look at what you have to spend in order to “save” that.
Lastly to get there requires driving over one of the scariest bridges I’ve ever crossed. The bridge must be 30-40 m above the raging Gordon River, and only has an ankle-high guard rail… 😬

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A tribute to Big Lonely Doug, Canada's second-largest Douglas fir at nearly 70 m high. I had mixed feelings about this visit: on the one hand it was amazing to see such an impressive tree so clearly, and a treat to be able to get a closer look, but to see it standing alone in a huge clearcut was very sobering. 🌲 It occurred to me that celebrating these few remaining big trees is like getting a coupon for money off. Sure, it's great to think about what you're saving but look at what you have to spend in order to "save" that. Lastly to get there requires driving over one of the scariest bridges I've ever crossed. The bridge must be 30-40 m above the raging Gordon River, and only has an ankle-high guard rail… 😬 #biglonelydoug #douglasfir #vancouverisland #portrenfrew #ancientforestalliance #clearcut #oldgrowth #temperaterainforest #beautifulbc #logging #bigtreetuesday

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From the road it’s impossible to judge just how large this tree is. We weren’t sure whether we wanted to risk picking our way through an old clearcut on such a wet day, knowing just what a battle it can be. But we saw other people had made it down to its base, and we decided to try as well. It turned out to be easier than we expected (though we still took a wrong turn and had to find a way over some very slick logs), and within a few minutes we were standing beneath Big Lonely Doug.

It’s well named; both Big and Lonely. And yet it was still hard to appreciate just how tall it was as the lowest branches must be nearly 50 m off the ground. We craned our necks upwards, the rain dotting our glasses and camera lenses, and following the length of the trunk up and down to try and absorb its size.

With mixed feelings we walked back to the car and drove back down the road to the Avatar Grove. As I mentioned above, the road crossed the stunning chasm of the Gordon River, a rugged, wild river if ever there was one! And, okay, maybe I exaggerated about the diminutive height of the guard rails: they actually came up to the middle of my calves….

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