When Lorna Beecroft took a photo of a huge old-growth tree on a logging truck in Nanaimo Tuesday, she had no idea how popular it would be online.
“I looked up the road and saw the huge thing on the road and I was looking at it thinking what the heck is that?” she said.
What she saw was a massive log on a logging truck heading north on the Nanaimo Parkway.
“I’ve never seen a tree that big, I’ve never seen a log that big on a truck,” added Beecroft.
The photo went viral within hours and as of Thursday afternoon had over 19,000 shares around the world.
Beecroft says she is not against sustainable logging but says seeing the tree struck a nerve with her considering what’s happening at the Fairy Creek old-growth blockade.
“I’m against cutting down trees that can never be replaced especially when we’re closing down mills here and sending our raw lumber overseas,” said Beecroft.
CHEK News has learned the massive log seen in the picture was on its way to a specialty mill near Port Alberni.
“We purchased it in Vancouver at a dryland sort over there and then we had the boom of logs towed over in the water,” said Ed Dicks of Acoustic Woods Ltd.
Acoustic Woods Limited is a small family-owned sawmill that makes acoustic guitar soundboards and wooden components for musical instruments. The small company has clients around the world.
Dicks said he purchased the Sitka spruce as part of package buy without seeing any of the logs beforehand. He says he doesn’t know when it was harvested but it was somewhere on the North Island before being towed in a log boom to the Vancouver area where he purchased it last fall. Then it was towed to a log sort in Nanaimo where it sat until this week.
“Generally for us, we don’t even like those logs,” he said. “They’re too big for us to handle but when we buy the logs we don’t necessarily get to see and choose what we’re buying, we’re buying a package.”
He says the log is the bottom part of the tree measuring about seven feet in diameter and is about 25 cubic metres. It will make about 3,000 guitar soundboards.
He adds he understands why protesters are fighting against old-growth logging.
The Ministry of Forests confirms to CHEK News the tree is a spruce from the North Island, cut between March and mid-August of 2020.
“It was subsequently transported in August 2020 by Western Forest Products – a month before the Special Tree Protection Regulation came into effect on September 11, 2020,” the ministry said in a statement to CHEK News.
“Government brought in this regulation to protect exceptionally large trees of all species throughout the province, and today, a tree of this size might well be illegal to harvest under the regulation, and fines of up to $100,000 could be imposed if it was.”
The ministry says due to the date of harvest, there is no contravention of the Special Tree Protection Regulation.