Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: May 20th, 2012
The killing of an 800-year old tree

Yes, I used the word “killing,” because that’s the only way I feel you can describe what happened to this piece of nature.

I am a tree person. I freely admit it. And one of the things I admired when I was in British Columbia years ago were the trees. Sometime this week, poachers killed an 800-year old cedar tree located in a remote park on Vancouver Island. From what’s left of it, which is only the stump, it was a majestic cedar indeed–the base spanned some 10 feet.

The tree was felled without any witnesses to the crime. Forestry officials found it and decided to leave it to rot, in order to return valuable nutrients to the forest floor, but upon return to the site several days later, the tree was gone. It had been expertly and neatly cut up and transported from the site.

This makes me furious. It’s the same ire that wells up in me when I read about poachers who kill protected species, burn off rain forests, use slave labor and to mine diamonds and precious minerals and generally just take whatever they want from this place we call home simple because of greed. I take huge issue with that.

That tree, which many consider just a renewable resource, was born when Marco Polo traveled to China, lived during the time of the Spanish Inquisition and the signing of the Magna Carta, and was a young sapling when this nation was inhabited with indigenous people, long before a white man set foot. It witnessed the birth of this continent, so to speak.

Maybe trees are a renewable resource, but they are also a national treasure. And at the very least, when growing in a protected forest, deserve to be left alone.

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