A once tall, vibrant Golden Spruce Tree stood on the banks of the Yakoun River near Port Clements on Graham Island in Haida Gwaii. The tree attracted many visitors to the shores of the Yakoun so to view the magical golden "freak of nature" - The Golden Spruce Tree.
The tree was, by all the rules of nature, a dead tree. The golden needles should of not of been able to absorb sunlight creating food and energy. It is only the green trees who have this ability to harness the suns energy. The Golden Spruce defied the odds and the logics of nature. It was thriving under insurmountable odds dominating the shoreline amongst the family of green trees.
In 1997, a self proclaimed "nature loving" forestry worker (some say mentally unstable, niave or crazy), cut the magical tree down as part of his protest against the current logging practices implemented at that time. Plus various other reasons.
The significance of the Golden Spruce Tree to the Haida First Nation people and to the Port Clements' tourism industry was huge. The act of killing the golden wonder sent shock waves through haida Gwaii and the world creating international headlines covering three continents resulting in a massive man hunt. This was not any normal tree eh!
Today, the short 20 minute Golden Spruce Tree Trail still exists as a reminder to what was once beautiful. The short easy-grade forested hiking trail leads to a wooden bench which was once the sitting bench to view the tree. Golden seedlings were salvaged luckily in 1997, but it took many seedlings for one to survive. One Golden Spruce seedling did survive and can be viewed at the Millennium Park in the Village of Port Clements.
There is a proud Haida First Nation story about the Golden Spruce Tree and a small boy. It goes something like this. During the winter season a long time ago, a young boy went down to the beach to relieve himself (#2). It was too cold to squat, so he stood. When he looked down at the turd it was standing up in the snow like a tree. The boy laughed and laughed.
Then the snow storm hit. Blizzard-like conditions burying the village in snow - supplies soon diminished. Villagers started to die of the cold and starvation until there were two left. A young boy and his Grandfather. The future looked bleak for the pair if they stayed in the village so they dug themselves out and started trekking.
Soon the blizzard vanished and the forests came alive with summer. They continued to walk searching for a new village when the grandfather spoke to his grandson, " Don't look back. If you do, you will go into the next world. A world where people can admire you, but will not be able to speak with you. You will be standing in this sacred place until the end of the world."
Missing his fishing gear and his birthplace village, the boy, could not resist one last look. One peek and his feet locked in. The boy was rooted to the forest ground. Seeing the boy was taking root the Grandfather spoke, " It is ok, my son. The last generation will come to see you and remember your story." The boy was the Golden Spruce.