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Key Number: HS 75067
Site Name: Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir Trees
Other Names:
Site Type: 0420 - Mercantile/Commercial: Botanical Garden or Park

Location

ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
25 2 5


Address: 9080 - 48 Avenue NW
Number: 80
Street: 90 NW
Avenue: 48 NW
Other:
Town: Calgary
Near Town:

Media

Type Number Date View
Source

Architectural

Style:
Plan Shape:
Storeys:
Foundation:
Superstructure:
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure:
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes:
Exterior: N/A
Interior: N/A
Environment: This stand of Rocky Mountain Douglas fir is located on property surrounding the Woods Christian Home adjacent to Bowness Park on Calgary's northwest boundary. It is situated in a park like setting on the south bank of the Bow River. South end of Bow River Bridge.
Condition:
Alterations: N/A

Historical

Construction: Construction Date:
Usage: Usage Date:
Trees surrounding private property

Owner: Owner Date:
N/A

Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: Significance:
Alberta is the eastern limit of Rocky Mountain Douglas fir growth in Canada. It occurs sporadically in some mountain valleys and on the lower slopes, and discontinuously in the foothills. It is rarely found in pure stands. In several areas this tree has been virtually eliminated, partly through fires but mostly due to human activities. The species was once more common, and the trees larger, but the large trees were an excellent source of lumber and eagerly sought by early Alberta settlers. The Calgary site, on the Bow River, is the furthest extension for Rocky Mountain Douglas fir, although technically the Porcupine Hills site extends farther east. The trees are therefore quite unique in the relatively treeless Calgary area. The naming of the Bow River was attributed to the Indian name for the Douglas fir by Reverend John McDougall in 1892. In a letter to the Department of the interior he stated: 'The Indians came here in the past to procure the outside wood of the young Douglas Pine for bow making as this was the most eleastic wood in the country and from this name man-ah-chan-ban has arise the name Bow River.' Dr. Anne Anderson translates 'man-a-cha-pan' a 'the palce where they go for bows'. Two Rocky Mountain Douglass fir trees on the south bank of the Bow River, on Woods Christian Home property, were cored and aged by an Alberta Forest Service technician and found in good health. It could continue to live for another hundred years or more. The 95-year-old tree might continue for anothr three hundred years. Douglas fir was first discovered on Vancouver Island in 1791 by the Scottish naturalist and surgeon, Archibald Menzies, while on an expedition to the west coast of British North America with Captain George Vancouver. It was variously considered a true fir, a pine, and a hemlock. However, in 1825 David Douglas, another Scottish botanist, studied the tree and correctly described it as being different from other conifers. Botanists later gave the species the scientific name 'Pseudotsuga' (meaning 'false hemlock') 'menziesii' (to honour Menzies), while the common name honours Douglas. There are two well-defined races of 'Pseudotsuga menziesii': the coastal variety (var. 'menzieii'), and the inland variety (var. 'glauca'). The latter variety, commonly known as Rocky Mountain Douglas fir or Blue Douglas fir, is the one found in Alberta.
It is distinguished from the coastal variety by habitat and the following characteristics:
1) a smaller, thicker, slower-growing tree, having a very open crown when mature;
2) smaller cones, with more prominent bracts;
3) leaves more bluish-green The bark of the young trees is smooth but very thick on old trees, as much as 20 cm, and deeply furrowed.
The Rocky Mountain Douglas fir is Alberta's largest tree; it has been known to attain heights of up to 150 feet and diameters over three feet. The trees may live up to four hundred years.

* * *
DRAFT PRESS RELEASE Edmonton, Alberta
The Honourable Doug Main, Minister of Culture and Multiculturalism, announced today that the Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary in Calgary has been disignated a Provincial Historic Resource. The Douglas fir trees at this location make up one of the last stands of the Rocky Mountain Douglas fir which occurs sporadically in some mountain valleys and on the lower slopes, and discontinuously in the foothills. In several areas, this tree has been virtually eliminated, partly through fire but mostly due to human destruction, in such activities as lumbering. The Rocky Mountain Douglas fir is Alberta's largest tree, known to attain heights of up to 150 feet and diameters over three feet. The tree may live up to four hundred years. Two of the trees at the Wood's site were recently found to be 95 and 284 years old. The Douglas fir was first discovered on Vancouver Island in 1791 by the Scottish naturalist and surgeon, Archibald Menzies. In 1825, David Douglas correctly identified it as being different from the other conifers. Two well defined races of Douglas fir exist, the Coastal variety and the inland variety found in Alberta.

Internal

Status: Status Date:
signed)

Designation Status: Designation Date:
Provincial Historic Resource
1990/11/30
Register: N/A
Record Information: Record Information Date:
T. Gilev 1999/09/30

Links

Internet:
Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0566
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