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Three Peachland trees given ‘monumental’ status

Identified in new book by Fernie author
Douglas fir in Saanich, B.C., 2019. (B.C. government)

Three Peachland area trees have earned the status of “monumental” in a new book written by Fernie author Terry Nelson.

Titled Big Trees of the Inland Temperate Forests of British Columbia, Nelson has chronicled scores of historic old-growth trees across the B.C. Interior.

The Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance (PWPA) will host a book launch event for Big Trees on Saturday, 2-4 p.m., at the Peachland Library, 40-5500 Clements Cres., to celebrate that three local trees made Nelson’s Big Tree shortlist.

Organic farmers and environmentalists, Joe and Jess Klein, have two of those three trees situated on their homestead, one a huge juniper and the other an interior Douglas fir.

The PWPA says Nelson’s book performs an important function to catalogue, protect and preserve these monolith trees.

The Kleins say view the two trees on their property as their legacy, and without their identification as being special may easily be overlooked and harvested to secure a better view or stripped from the forest for short-term 2X4s, toilet paper or pellets.

“These mother trees need to be preserved for our grandchildren’s grandchildren. It takes hundreds, sometimes thousands of years for them to establish and they can be levelled within seconds,” said the Kleins in a statement.

“Terry’s book brings public awareness to their beauty and existence and more support for their permanent protection and stewardship.”

Author Terry Nelson. (Contributed)
Author Terry Nelson. (Contributed)

Nelson has spent years combing B.C.’s forests, both urban and rural while interviewing local residents and community groups to develop a database of previously unknown large trees.

“In the government’s BC Big Tree Registry, I found the biggest recorded trees to be mostly on the Pacific west coast…I then began to wonder about the trees where I live in Fernie. How did they rate?” Nelson said.

His book is a testament to what he discovered, and to raise awareness of these historic trees to the public, particularly in communities where these big trees still exist.

The PWPA is also involved in another media launch event, this time the first B.C. Interior screening of a new documentary Before They Fall, in which filmmaker Cam MacArthur examines the recent escalation of the Fairy Creek Blockade, which gained international media attention.

MacArthur’s film documents the standoff between land defenders, enforcement agencies and the logging companies, and touches on potential solutions which can transition away from old growth in any future logging and recognize Indigenous sovereignty.

The Fairy Creek blockades have continued for almost three years, the location being the last unprotected, intact valley watershed on southern Vancouver Island.

“Before They Fall is honouring those who fight to protect the ancient old-growth forest and an urgent call for settlers to listen and follow Indigenous leadership,” said the film’s producer Momme Halbe.

“We are amplifying the call for land back and much-needed activism to combat ongoing systemic racism and violence against Indigenous peoples, Black and other people of colour who are continually targeted by RCMP units.”

The film screening begins at 7:15 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Peachland 50+ Centre, 5672 Beach Ave.

The presentation will also be a panel discussion featuring three guest speakers: Torrance Coste, national campaign director, Wilderness Committee; Rainbow Eyes, a protest activist and deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada; and Rande Cook, with the Tree of Life/Awi’nakola Foundation.

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Barry Gerding

About the Author: Barry Gerding

Senior regional reporter for Black Press Media in the Okanagan. I have been a journalist in the B.C. community newspaper field for 37 years...
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