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

This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)
Interior Health notes 80 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

108 people in the region have died from the virus

RDuring a short downpour of rain, Sickle Point Committee member, Renee Halo Martin,  gives a green ribbon to Kaleden supporter Michael Bland. (Submitted)
100 cars lineup to get green ribbons to save Sickle Point

The Kaleden committee has until June 1 to raise $1 million

Penticton fire crews put out hot spots at a controlled burn that got a little close for comfort at Riva Ridge Estates March 8, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Controlled burn comes close to Penticton homes

Residents of Riva Ridge Estates got out their hoses before fire crews arrived

The goal of the group is to help women owned businesses recover from the pandemic and to assist women to become angel investors and women owned or co-owned businesses to better access capital.
Okanagan women’s investor fund launched to aid women-owned businesses

Twenty-five women have formed a new Okanagan angel investment fund

It's tick season in South Okanagan.
Tick season has started in South Okanagan

A Penticton adventure company collected 200 ticks last year to be studied for Lyme Disease

Five Kelowna writers are featured in an anthology that launched in time for International Women's Day. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
International Women’s Day: Book exploring fears features Kelowna writers

The book has launched in time for International Women’s Day

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, an Okanagan based-law practice, and provides Kelowna Capital News with weekly stories from the world of local, national and international law. (Contributed)
Kootnekoff: Royal Dismissal

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

(File photo)
RCMP seek witnesses after 2 different reports of man chasing children in Kelowna

Both incidents occured around Dougall Road in Rutland

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Noah Vaten(left) having a cigarette out front of the Kelowna Law Courts on a brief break during his manslaughter trial on March 8, 2021. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Accused Kelowna killer ‘blacked out’ on cocaine, kicked cop shop window looking for help

Video of Noah Vaten’s interrogation shown during manslaughter trial details night of Canada Day killing in the accused’s own words

Most Read