Aerial view of the tree and surrounding streets.

The Town of Gibsons will say goodbye to beloved black walnut tree

May 16, 2023 –This coming Fall, the black walnut tree located at 643 & 647 School Road, behind Molly’s Reach, will be removed by the property owners due to the fact that it poses a serious risk to the public.

The tree was assessed by two Certified Arborists who both recommended that it be removed due to the tree’s condition, site conditions, and the extreme target potential were it to fall. The condition of the tree is such that the structural integrity has been greatly compromised by root damage, extensive rot, and previous topping, resulting in questionable branch attachments. Additionally, adjacent concrete retaining walls are being encroached on by the large trunk. The tree has outgrown its increasingly dense environment and is a threat to its surroundings.

“I am devastated that this tree has to be removed,” says Mayor Silas White. “It is a natural landmark that many of us feel deeply connected to. In hopes that we could find a way to preserve the tree, Council requested that staff get a second Arborist’s opinion–but unfortunately, the second Arborist also confirmed the tree is unsafe. It will come down one way or another, and we need to allow the property owner to remove it safely, so no harm comes to anyone or anything.”

The tree, which is listed as a heritage tree in the Town of Gibsons’ Heritage Inventory and Heritage Register, was planted by George Gibsons Jr., and it is said that early settlers used the oil from the walnut husks to stain their wooden gun stocks. Over the last century, the tree has been a fixture in Lower Gibsons, serving as a visual backdrop to the Town, appearing in countless photographs, and serving as home to numerous small creatures.

“While preservation of the tree would be ideal, we must put the safety of our community first,” says Director of Infrastructure Trevor Rutley. “Since it’s been deemed unsafe, unfortunately, we have no choice but to allow it to be removed.”

As the removal of this tree may be upsetting for many residents, the Town invites people to say their goodbyes, share their photos and stories, and commemorate the tree in any way they wish to.

A notice will be posted on the Town of Gibsons’ website prior to the removal.

For more information, please contact:
The Town of Gibsons

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