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Western Red Cedar - The Tree
The Official Tree of British Columbia
The Western Red Cedar Tree is often referred to as "The pillar of the Northwest Coast Aboriginal Culture" as well as "The Tree of Life". This tree was fundamental to the First Nations people and was used to make medicines, canoes, totem poles, longhouses, paddles, weapons, religious masks and cooking utensils among other uses. Sixty foot canoes, eight feet in width have been found. The aboriginal peoples of Western North America pounded fibers of the tree to make mats, clothing, baskets, nets and fishing lines.
Western Red Cedar grows mainly on the north-west coastal lands of North America Northern British Columbia south through the State of Washington as well as within the wet belt areas of the interior.
It is currently used extensively in the manufacture of outdoor furniture, boats, canoes, housing, cedar shakes, decking and fencing.
It has a very high resistance to insects and natural rot and as a result the wood of fallen trees remains sounds and usable well over 100 years.
Western Red Cedar trees can grow to a massive size with diameters exceeding eight feet and height over two hundred feet. The largest example of Western Red Cedar was located on Vancouver Island and had a trunk diameter of thirteen feet 6 inches.
The wood is free of pitch or resin, lightweight, straight-grained and very fragrant.