The Burmis Tree – Bellevue, Alberta - Atlas Obscura
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Bellevue, Alberta

The Burmis Tree

Despite being dead since the 1970s, this Canadian tree is kept upright and intact by adoring locals. 

Despite being dead since the 1970s, Alberta’s so-called Burmis Tree still stands in the same spot it has for the past 700 or so years, maintained since its death by a devoted locals who see the tree as a monument to a town gone by. 

The mining town of Burmis was established in the early 20th century when the the Davenport Coal Company moved into the area, bringing with it the promise of commerce and jobs. Burmis began to thrive and grow, building its own school, church, and retail storefronts. Of course even as the town was just starting, the tree that would eventually bear the town’s name was already hundreds of years old.

Like many mining towns, Burmis grew quickly on its promise of wealth and jobs, but flamed out just as quickly when the mining dried up. The town did not instantly disappear and nearly had a successful resurgence as a lumber town before finally declining for good and disappearing. However through all the ups and downs, the spindly limber pine nearby stood strong. 

Limber pines are known to be especially long-lived, but eventually even they die. The Burmis Tree, as the arbor had come to be known since it was the last remnant of the former mining town, died in 1978 when it lost the last of its needles, however death was not the end for the tree. It had become somewhat of a landmark in the area and instead of being cleared as deadwood, the barren branches began being cared for by locals. When the tree was blown over in a storm in 1998 it was placed back upright and given supports to make sure it stayed that way. Later on in 2004 when some jerks sawed off one of the tree’s long branches, it was reattached with glue and a crutch that supports it to this day.

The Burmis Tree may be the most beloved dead tree in the entire world.