The Burmis Tree - 2009
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The Burmis Tree
This limber pin has marked the eastern edge of Alberta's Crowsnest Pass for an estimated seven centuries. Named the Burmis Tree after a coal - mining town that thrived here in the early 1900's, the tree has become a symbol of endurance for the people of the Pass.
Limber pines have one of the longest life spans of any tree in Alberta. The trees grow and prosper in harsh conditions, places where other trees perish. Limber pine roots snake into cracks in the rocks. The branch tips are flexible, so strong winds shape rather than snap its branches.
The Burmis Tree died in the late 1970s. It lost the deep green needles and yellowy brown cones seen on other limber pines growing up this sandstone ridge. Birds such as the Clark's nutcracker and other seed consumers, harvest cones containing seeds or cache them for later use. Young limber pines sprout in abandoned caches to begin their own battles with the relentless wind.
In 1998, the Burmis Tree lost its battle with the wind and toppled to the ground. But members of the Crowsnest community refused to leave it lying there. A partnership between the provincial government, the federal government, local businesses, community groups, and private citizens raised and stabilized the tree. Stainless steel brackets anchor the roots with rods drilled deep into the sandstone. Apipe inserted into the trunk gives support. Another support reduces the movement of the root section and can be tightened if the tree moves.
The Burmis Tree once again stands on its sandstone pedestal, greeting visitors to the pass, and telling residents they are home.
Info from the sign by the tree.
Also by Cindy Coubrough
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