A tall, old spruce tree that’s been a landmark for years on Highway 16 between Terrace and Prince Rupert and which also serves as a memorial to a woman who died in a car accident is to be cut down.
The tree is no longer living and could become a hazard to passing vehicles, says Peter Lansdowne from Nechako Northcoast, the company with the road maintenance contract for a portion of the highway leading toward Prince Rupert.
“We’ve had our eye on it for several years. It’s losing its bark and it could become a danger,” he said.
There’s no date yet of when the tree will be taken down but it will be within the next two weeks, Lansdowne added.
The tree is located on the westbound lane shoulder of the highway on a straight stretch close to the Kasiks Wilderness Resort.
It’s been popularly known as the “35 mile spruce tree” because of its distance from Terrace.
CN’s rail tracks run on the other side of the highway right beside the river.
It was near that spot in June 2009 that a vehicle carrying Prince Rupert teen Ashley Coveyduck and another person left the highway and entered the Skeena River.
The other person escaped and suffered minor injuries but despite an extensive search, Coveyduck was never found.
A memorial cross with photos was erected at the base of the spruce tree by family and friends.
It and the tree were damaged by a fire of unknown origin in August 2011 and the memorial material was subsequently replaced.
Approximately 11 feet of the base of the tree will be kept in place when it is taken down, meaning that the memorial material right at the foot of the tree won’t be affected.