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Giant Trees

As you drove through Cathedral Grove on your way to the West Coast of Vancouver island the tall tree there is Douglas Fir, at 100 m. (330') tall it is not recognized as the tallest tree on the planet.  However, some unusually tall specimens at just over 120 m. (400') were the tallest trees ever recorded; try and imagine a single tree as tall as a 40 story building.  The tall tree on the West Coast is Sitka Spruce, at 90 m. (300) or 30 stories high.  

The wide trees at both Cathedral Grove and here on the West side of Vancouver Island are the giant Western Red Cedar.  There the trees are 6 - 800 year old.  Here in Clayoquot Sound the oldest of the ancient trees are estimated to be 1,500 to 2,000 years old and a number of them are about 6 m. (20') in diameter.  The nature of these ancient trees is that they are hollow which allows them to bend with the wind rather than break.  This makes it difficult to determine the age of these old giants, however, scientists compare their growth rings patterns to those of known tree ages to discover their age.

At the end of the Big Tree Trail on Meares Island near Tofino in a grove of beautiful giants is the 'Hanging Garden Tree.  She is estimated to be at least 1,400 years old and is an eco-system unto herself as she nurtures a variety of flora including several trees of different species; she is a prime example of a standing  'Nurse Tree'.    



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