Tree climbing might just be a fun past-time for adventurous children, but for these British Columbians, their passion for old-growth forests has taken them to new heights.
A drone video shot in Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island captured the risky ascent three tree climbers made up the second largest known Douglas-fir tree in Canada.
But the climb wasn’t just for fun. For Matthew Beatty, Aaron Kinvig, and Elliot Wright of the Arboreal Collective, it was part of their work to document and protect the still-standing old-growth forests of B.C.
“Drones not only allow us to get spectacular footage of our ancient forests to help raise public awareness, but they enable us to see what’s going on with remote logging operations that are normally out of the public spotlight due to barriers imposed by the mountains and rugged terrain,” said TJ Watt, a photographer and campaigner for the Ancient Forest Alliance.
The tree, aptly named ‘Big Lonely Doug’ for its position in the middle of a clear cut area, is 66 metres in height and 3.8 metres in diameter. It was one of three old-growth trees left behind after the forest surrounding them was cut down in 2012.
It is now used as an anchor for large steel cables to carry the rest of the fallen logs through the area. The Ancient Forest Alliance says this has damaged some of the tree’s bark.
Because of trees like Big Lonely Doug, the Ancient Forest Alliance says Port Renfrew has become a tourist destination, bringing thousands from around the world to visit some of Canada’s largest trees. Other notable timbers in the area include the world’s largest Douglas-fir, the Red Creek Fir, Canada’s former largest Sitka spruce tree, and the Harris Creek spruce.
The trees are just a few kilometres from the protected Avatar Grove and the West Coast Trail.