Our Big Trees book signing was a huge success – more than 40 books were sold, and the presentation by author Terry nelson was a fascinating walk through some of the most amazing land in the province! Here’s the summary by our own Judy Wyper!

By Judy Wyper

The Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance held a presentation and book signing of Terry Nelson’s Big Trees of the Inland Temperate Forests of British Columbia.  This was at the Peachland Library on February 11.  Terry told of being in silent dark mossy forests full of ancient lichen-bestrewed giant trees. Patches of old growth forest surrounded by clearcuts.  A solitary veteran tree standing in a clearcut.  Inland forests abounding with biodiversity. Open Okanagan forests, and how he can deal with a grizzly easier than a rattlesnake!

One of Terry’s messages was the need to protect old growth forests and keep our Big Trees safe. The BC Special Tree Policy is the only protection for individual old growth trees, with only 45 trees on that list.  If a giant tree is in a cut block, it can be cut down.  People are lobbying to have more species and sizes of trees included in Special Protection legislation, with an online petition.     The UBC Forestry Faculty manages a Big Tree Registry. People send GPS co-ordinates, photos, and measurements to nominate trees. This does not protect the tree, but identifies a veteran tree. The BC government refers to this registry, so the more trees submitted to that, the better it is to help enact protection.

To locate interior forest giants, Terry scoured trail maps, guides, online sites, and received word of mouth information.  Last summer he visited Peachland’s Ponderosa Pat, a 400 year old giant close to the Gladstone Trail.  He also met with Joe and Jessica Klein at The Homestead, property that was settled in the 1890s and has “an aged Rocky Mountain Juniper,” two centenarian American elms, and a giant Douglas fir.

Terry has documented over 750 trees, and 170 of them are in the book along with maps, databases, glossary, colourful photographs, and biogeoclimatic zone descriptions.

The audience was captivated with the photographs he projected as well as his stories about adventuring across the Kootenays and up to Prince George and all around the interior temperate forests of our province. Terry did some book signing and the chatter in the room showed how passionate and interested people are about protecting trees.