WOOD'S DOUGLAS FIR TREE SANCTUARY
Douglas Fir Trees
Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir Trees
Douglas Wood Fir
Wood's Christian Homes
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary comprises approximately 12.5 hectares of land located on the south bank of the Bow River near Bowness Park. The sanctuary features a variety of flora, including fir, spruce, balsam poplar, and aspen trees, as well as thick brush, and lush vegetation.
The heritage value of the Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary lies in its preservation of one of the few extant stands of the inland variety of Rocky Mountain Douglas fir trees remaining in Alberta.
The inland variety of the Rocky Mountain Douglas fir, also known as the Blue Douglas fir, can be found only sporadically throughout Alberta's mountain valleys and foothills. The stand of these trees preserved in the Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary on the most easterly slopes of the Rocky Mountain foothills represents one of the last and best collections of this species in Alberta. Fires and lumbering have virtually eliminated this variety of Douglas fir trees from the province. The inland variety of the Rocky Mountain Douglas fir is a majestic, imposing tree; the largest species of tree in Alberta, it can measure over 1 metre in diameter and rise up to 45 metres tall. With a potential lifespan of up to 400 years, the Rocky Mountain Douglas fir tree is also one of the most enduring tree species in Alberta. Some trees in the sanctuary are several centuries old. Situated close to the river valley and in the transitional zone between parkland and the open prairie, the area of the present-day sanctuary was in previous centuries used by native peoples to hunt and collect medicines and other natural products. The Rocky Mountain Douglas fir trees in the area possessed a particularly elastic quality and were used by Natives to create bows. This region was known as man-a-cha-pan - loosely translated as "the place where they go for bows" - and provided the Bow River with its name. The continuing preservation of the inland variety of the Rocky Mountain Douglas fir provides a vital reservoir of seeds and gene pools of a species of flora largely decimated in Alberta.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1026)
The character-defining elements of the Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary include such features as:
- location on the south bank of the Bow River near Bowness Park;
- variety of flora;
- extant Rocky Mountain Douglas fir trees;
- environment conducive to the continuing preservation of the Rocky Mountain Douglas fir trees.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Peopling the Land
- People and the Environment
Function - Category and Type
- Nature Element
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1026)
Cross-Reference to Collection