In the tradition of John Vaillant’s modern classic The Golden Spruce comes a story of the unlikely survival of one of the largest and oldest trees in Canada.
On a cool morning in the winter of 2011, a logger named Dennis Cronin was walking through a stand of old-growth forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island. He came across a massive Douglas fir the height of a twenty-storey building. Instead of allowing the tree to be felled, he tied a ribbon around the trunk, bearing the words “Leave Tree.” The forest was cut but the tree was saved. The solitary Douglas fir, soon known as Big Lonely Doug, controversially became the symbol of environmental activists and their fight to protect the region’s dwindling old-growth forests.
Originally featured as a long-form article in The Walrus that garnered a National Magazine Award (Silver), Big Lonely Doug weaves the ecology of old-growth forests, the legend of the West Coast’s big trees, the turbulence of the logging industry, the fight for preservation, the contention surrounding ecotourism, First Nations land and resource rights, and the fraught future of these ancient forests around the story of a logger who saved one of Canada's last great trees.