Port McNeill. World’s Largest Burl. August 19-21, 2012.
30 August 2012 | Posted at Nanoose
Photo: The world's largest burl in its house at Port McNeil.
"You use whatever resources you have." That's what someone said to me once when I told them about Ketchikan making a tourist attraction out of its red light district. I remembered that statement when I heard that Port McNeill had the world's largest burl on display.
A burl is a rounded knotty growth on a tree. They're usually used to make bowls out of. The one in Port McNeill is way too big to use to make a bowl. We went to see it this year. It's on the edge of town on the road leading west, next to the community center and across a parking lot from a baseball field. It sits under a wooden shelter and reminded me of a Buddha in a temple, or more precisely of a Buddha's stomach.
The more I thought about the burl, the more I thought that thinking of it as a tourist attraction with no real value, short changed the burl, and the town. First the burl really is amazingly large. Second, Port McNeill is a logging town and what could be more natural than for it to have a burl? From the marina you can watch logs being loaded onto barges and see antique logging equipment on the lawn. The local museum is full of logging paraphernalia residents wear T-shirts saying, "Lucky Logger." In a town that celebrates trees, the world's largest burl is a coup.