Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Poor old Stanley

The wind gods hate us here in British Columbia's south coast. Another wind storm's coming, after a few over the past month. The only one to really affect me was the first one I whined about, that caused traffic nightmares and a week-long boil water advisory, but even that didn't touch me nearly as much as some.

None of the storms have knocked out my power for longer than a few minutes; some people spent days waiting for it to be restored, some are still waiting. A couple in Burnaby, my 'burb, died after using a gas-powered generator indoors to stay warm during a powerless night.

And I don't live under the trees in Stanley Park. Vancouver has a huge homelessness issue, so some people with no homes had some even more hellish nights and just lost their makeshift tents.

From the National Post:
Wind gusts of up to 115 kilometres an hour left entire swaths of the 1,000-acre park bald on Thursday night, uprooting -- and in some cases even tossing -- 130-year-old Douglas fir, hemlock and red cedar trees across the forest floor.

From the Vancouver Sun:
Landslides resulting from the massive windstorm that battered the city last Friday have undermined the seawall around Stanley Park and will keep the popular walking and jogging route closed well into next year.

Stanley Park is such a huge part of life in Vancouver, this is all so heartbreaking. They say 20% of its trees - thousands of trees - have been lost. They're starting fundraising campaigns to replace them, but you can't really replace trees that are a hundred years old. Mayor Sam Sullivan is asking for provincial and national help to restore the park.

However, from CBC:
Suzanne Simard, an associate professor at the University of B.C.'s department of forest sciences, said storms are natural, even necessary, to help forests regenerate and much of the fallen wood should be left on the ground.

"Think, too, about a forest that hasn't been disturbed," she said Tuesday. "Trees will grow and they'll age and they'll die and they'll fall to the ground. And again, they will be used by other organisms for their habitat. They will also decompose and they become part of the carbon cycle and part of the nutrient cycle. They play a really important role in healthy sustainable forests."

Nature sucks sometimes, but maybe we should let old Stanley live through his natural life cycles. Again from the National Post:
A hurricane in 1962 toppled about 3,000 Stanley Park trees, but many Vancouver residents may not have lived in the city long enough to remember.

Despite all this, Stanley will flourish and outlive us all.