Values of the Afforestation Areas

The values of the Afforestation Areas. Are there social, environmental, cultural, recreational, scenic values of trees?


The following is a partial listing of the values of the afforestation areas in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Is there, indeed, some value in the afforestation areas?

  • Nothing is financed, nor planned for the general public in regards to an urban regional park as the afforestation areas are NOT in municipal reserve, and not in city park space.
  • Nothing is similarly in the long range planning in terms of curbing the illegal activity, and illegal trespass which have gone on for years, in the forms of fencing or gates to prevent access by motorized vehicle.  The afforestation areas belong to land bank, and as such there is NO  money that the city can allocate to the afforestation areas for any purpose whatsoever.
  • Nothing is in the planning stages for erecting signs so that the vacant looking lands are defined as city owned lands, as there is no money allocated for the afforestation areas.
  • The afforestation areas named as urban regional parks in 1979 by city council only and not by the parks department.  The afforestation areas belong to land bank,  they are NOT in municipal reserve, and not in city park space.
  • The afforestation areas were ‘preserved in perpetuity’ on paper by city council in 1972 and not in real life as has been evident by the several community volunteer clean ups removing huge amounts of trash and the ‘George Genereux” afforestation area which has received no clean up at all.
  • There have been grass fires in the afforestation areas over the years, and two massive grass fires at the nearby “Buck’s auto parts” requiring fire protective services from both the City of Saskatoon and the RM of Corman Park 344.  If a grass fire gets away and becomes a forest fire in the afforestation area, it would have devastating consequences for the neighbouring residents of Cedar Villa Estates, and for those train cars carrying flammable goods in the adjacent CN Chappell Yards Train station.  There is NO funding to fill in the existing large fire hole built to burn wood pallets for campfire parties, or convert it to a fire pit of city or provincial standards.  However, there is no funding for signs in regards to any fires in the afforestation areas.

Is it really true that nothing can be done?

As has been determined, the MVA has no immediate plans for the afforestation areas in the Blairmore sector of Saskatoon. City of Saskatoon long range planners have no immediate plans for the afforestation areas in the Blairmore sector of Saskatoon, either, as there is NO money for the afforestation areas.  What exactly are long range plans for the afforestation areas as Saskatoon’s population grows to just over 380,000 by 2035, and as the Saskatoon census metropolitan area is forecasted to reach a population of 448,985, the afforestation areas, around 380 hectares of land?  Is there something for everybody?  No. Read the following list of values of the Afforestation Area for more information.

380 hectares of land should provide the opportunities for the long range planners City of Saskatoon and the Meewasin Valley Authority to allocate  a naturalized areas for the population of the city.  Though our children will see the city rise to about 1/2 million by 2015, there no plans for these afforestation areas whatsoever. There is absolutely no way to protect the afforestation areas so that our grandchildren may still see a frog, a deer, or other creature inside city limits within the wildlife habitat corridor of afforestation areas. There is no safeguard on the wetlands, which the afforestation areas exist in, at all.

The  city and the MVA have the opportunity to follow up on Truth and Reconciliation for our first nations peoples of Saskatoon. “We respectfully acknowledge that the afforestation areas exist upon Treaty 6 territory and the traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people”. However, as the afforestation areas are not part of a municipal reserve, there is NO carry through to protect, conserve, or take care of take care of the riparian woodlands, wetlands, or grasslands of the afforestation areas in any planning at all.

If you can think of anymore values for the afforestation areas, please comment.

Please, if you have any values which you personally treasure about the afforestation areas, again it would be fantastic to hear your comment.

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding the afforestation areas in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada?

Some Values of the Afforestation Areas:

    1. The Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area has as its namesake, Dr. Richard Edward St. Barbe Baker, O.B.E., Hon. LL.D. (Sask), F.I.A.L., For.Dip.Cantab., A.C.F. (9 October 1889 – 9 June 1982) silviculturist, environmental activist, humanitarian and author who founded the International Tree Foundation and Children of the Green Earth. “A name pronounced is the recognition of the individual to whom it belongs. He who can pronounce my name aright, he can call me, and is entitled to my love and service.” Henry David Thoreau
    2. George Patrick Genereux, B.A., MD, CM (March 1, 1935 – April 10, 1989) was a 1952 Summer Olympics Canadian Gold medal-winning trap shooter, recipient of the Lou Marsh Trophy and the Viscount Alexander Trophy, inducted into the Canada, and Saskatchewan and Saskatoon’s Sports Hall of Fame and physician. “When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual.”. Erica Jong
    1. Afforestation areas located in the West Swale, of a valuable geological heritage as the West Swale has its origins in the Yorath Island Spillway of the Pleistocene era.
    1. Afforestation areas provide a mixed deciduous and coniferous forest in the midst of an aspen parkland ecosystem, providing a unique setting for visitors. One does not have to drive north to the Prince Albert National Park to be in a mixed woodlands forest setting, it is in the city of Saskatoon.
    1. The mature riparian afforested woodlands situated in a wetlands setting provides the opportunity to observe and view a variety of flora and fauna, very unique to see the diversity of animals especially as Saskatoon grows to just over 380,000 by 2035.
    2. In 1972, Manchurian Elm Ulmus laciniata, and American Elm Ulmus americana were afforested, along with hardy drought resistant tree species such as Colorado Blue Spruce Picea pungens, Balsam-poplar Populus balsamifera, Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris L., Caragana Caragana arborescens. If Green Ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Manitoba Maple Acer negundo or Willow Salix were planted, there was not a large survival rate of these in the afforestation area. Native prairie Trembling Aspen Groves Populus tremuloides, Buffaloberry Shepherdia argentea and snowberry Symphoricarpo are emerging within the afforested woodlands. It is also intriguing to note that there is one native crabapple perhaps Malus baccata, the Siberian crab apple, honeysuckle Lonicera dioica and a few golden elders Sambucus canadensis ‘Aurea.’ in the afforestation area It is not believed that these were afforested, and there is no evidence of homesteading in the area, so from whence did they arrive to the RSBBAA? It is one of those naturalists type of questions when observing nature in the RSBBAA.
    3. As the afforestation areas were planted with fire breaks, and purchased in 1960, there are definitely areas of native grasslands which have been preserved for 58 years without disturbance.
    4. Woodlands not only enhance the wildlife habitat corridor, they provide a windbreak, and scenic setting for recreation, in an expanding urban environment, the larger Saskatoon census metropolitan area is forecasted to reach a population of about 450,000 by 2035.
    5. The afforestation areas absorb noise, dust, carbon dioxide, and greenhouse gases.
    6. The afforestation area enhances the City of Saskatoon’s green belt created by Bert Wellman and Bill Graham
    7. The afforestation area also happen to provide screening of the train yards for those driving Township Road 362A or enjoying the south west area past Saskatoon.
    8. Oxygen is released, enriching the general sense of well-being in humans, and also to wildlife in a protected area in the city limits. They help us breath, and the woodlands are the best source of great air quality.
    9. The afforestation woodlands, and wetlands naturalized area provides the opportunity for Truth and Reconciliation. What would reconciliation look like in the afforestation areas? “The current state of water in and around many First Nations communities is stressing the special relationship that many First Nations people have with water. This relationship is characterized by unique ways of knowing that water and using water for ceremonial purposes. For example, Mushkegowuk Elders of the James Bay Cree Nation describe water as a “mirror [of] the climate or mood that we, as human beings, are in” (Lavalley, 2006: 8). Another elder from the Haudenonsaunee Iroquois Nation points out that water is a living entity. Avoiding degradation of water includes changing the way water is perceived (emphasis added, Lavalley, 2006: 9). First Nations’ special relationship with water exists in the laws as well. Oji-Cree Elders state: “A treaty was negotiated and concluded by our ancestors to last forever for ‘as long as the rivers flow.’ Water signifies the everlastingness of this treaty relationship. The inherent right to water was never surrendered in the treaty. The Crown recognized that we would continue to exercise our inherent right to water without interference or molestation…the settler population’s government must be reminded of their treaty obligations” (in Lavalley, 2006: 34). “{source} Wetlands are wonderful, îhkatwâwa kihcîtâkwana. {source}
      It is a tragedy that “provincial cuts, downloading costs Saskatoon $59M” for without funds how can the City of Saskatoon place the afforestation areas into municipal reserve and have the capacity to provide funding for the wetlands and water of the afforestation areas. (CBC News 2017) “Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark says a surprise provincial budget cut could cost the city more than $10 million and create a “fiscal crisis” in 2017. ” (Bridges, 2017) The afforestation areas are not a part of municipal reserve and do not belong to the City of Saskatoon park space. Rather the afforestation areas are just lands held in the City land bank. As such, there is no money available which can be allocated to the afforestation areas for any purpose.
    10. Menoyawenek, “the Cree word that most closely represents ‘health’ is menoyawenek. Meno translates into ‘good’ or ‘well’ while yawenek means ‘living’, ‘alive’ or ‘being’. As a consequence, menoyawenek has been translated into ‘a good way of living’. Notably, menoyawenek does more than merely describe health in terms of the absence of disease but rather embodies an overall sense of leading a good life in all aspects….interactions with the natural environment through the practice of traditional harvesting activities, along with language, contribute to well-being.”{Source} Combining the existant ecology and further afforesting of the afforestation areas with the drive of the Saskatoon Food Forest Initiative would be one method to honour Truth and Reconciliation. “A report by the City of Saskatoon says provincial downloading and cuts will have ‘substantial financial implications’ for Saskatchewan’s biggest city”(CBC news, 2017)
      The afforestation areas are not in municipal reserve, nor are they a part of City park space, which would be the means to allocate money for these urban regional parks by the various city departments. The “Meewasin Valley Authority funding cut by $409K in Saskatchewan budget.”(Giles, March 23, 2017) Similarly, the MVA’s shortage of finances has limited the capacity of this environmental conservation agency.
    11. A statue, or commemorative naming in tribute of Missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) would provide distinction and recognition in the reconciliation process. It is truly unfortunate that a tragedy in the area (not a car accident) is currently marked by a nearby roadside shrine. The existing shrine of flowers located on Township Road 362A is dedicated by family and friends who loved the fallen victim of tragic circumstance.
      A shortage of $400K to the Meewasin Valley authority resulted in “a major hit for Meewasin. We knew there would be likely some reduction. We certainly hadn’t planned for something like this,” according to MVA CEO Lloyd Isaak.(Menz, 2017)     What did the provincial funding cuts mean for the city? “This is an $11.4-million hole in our operating budget for providing core services to citizens,” said City of Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark.(Bridges, 2017) There are no short term plans by the City long range planners to place the afforestation areas into municipal reserve nor into park space inventory. As the afforestation lands are part of the City of Saskatoon “land bank” the various city departments are allocated no portion of city funds for the afforestation areas, the city funds which are short $11.4 million dollars.
    12. The area is flat – a flood plain for all intensive purposes – so there is great value for use by many diverse users, the bicycle group, cross country skiers, the disabled, snowshoers, walkers and hikers who wish a walk without hills. The city riverbank trails are absolutely fantastic, however the disabled person, has a grasslands experience on the upper plains, as the river bank hills are not easy to navigate by walker, or wheelchair. A flat forest such as the afforestation areas, affords the disabled an experience in a forest setting which is not available in any other city green spaces.
      “Councillors spent hours brainstorming ways the city can cover the $11.4 million yearly revenue loss.” (Wilson, 2017) The city of Saskatoon has retained the afforestation areas in land bank, and there are no immediate plans to move them into municipal reserve or into city parks space. How can they, when they are suffering from an $11.4 yearly revenue loss?
      What are the ripple effects of the “Meewasin Valley Authority losing nearly half its provincial funding?” (Shields, 2017) The MVA is without funding for the afforestation areas.
    13. During these times of climate change, woodlands absorb CO2, mitigating global warming. Saskatoon has the unique heritage distinction of being one of the very first cities with an afforestation area started in 1972, Saskatoon, pioneer in the reduction of the projected climate change
    14. Saskatchewan cycles through years of high water tables, flooding and drought. Forests influence local weather patterns, and create individualized micro-climates. As Richard St. Barbe Baker knew when he reclaimed arable land from the Sahara Desert project, trees make it rain.  “My answer to this is: enlist the whole population to restore tree cover until they have a 33.3 per cent tree Cover. They would thus be fighting shoulder to shoulder on the green front as they are doing in the Sahara desert today to grow food for their people. We have heard this evening about the Sahara and I would like to say one word about this. These countries had fought for their freedom from colonialism and sometimes amongst themselves. They are coming together to reclaim 2 million sq. miles of this world’s most famous desert. “~Richard St. Barbe Baker Friends of the Trees Speech 1980”
    15. Tree roots, themselves are powerful systems. They absorb the devastating effects of flooding reducing loss of soil and reducing property damage. “ I believe that the minimum tree cover for safety is l/3rd of the total land area of every country. Every catchment area should have at least this proportion of tree cover made of mixed species including the broad leaved trees -mono culture in any form is injurious to the land, especially mono-cultivated coniferous woods, because the roots compete underground, of course. If you study the profile of a soil, the first roots may go down together and compete with each other. The hair roots of every tree are changed with acid sheath and this acid sheath is there to help the tree melt the rock, so that the root can go through the rock. You have seen a root go right down through the rock and continue growing at the other end, the bottom of the rock. Nature has provided this acid so that the roots can melt rock and get a hold and cling and split the rock. It is amazing that the power of a small root when it starts to grow, it can crack a rock, and just imagine, all these conifers planted at equidistant of the same age with roots competing at the same level.” Richard St. Barbe Baker Friends of the Trees Speech, 1980
    16. Trees act on the aquifer systems below the soil surface. “when the trees go, the rain goes, the climate deteriorates, the water table sinks, the land erodes and desert conditions soon appear.” Richard St. Barbe Baker Land of Tone 1954
    17. The afforestation areas are testaments to the history of Saskatoon, as they acted ahead of their time, planting trees. Afforestation areas are known to address the environmental issues of the world, and as such, Saskatoon has acted as a pioneer in the “Green Survival” campaign of 1972. “Let TAWAMHWE-pull together-be our motto and I pray that we may give our active support to all efforts of desert reclamation by tree planting and I pray that I may be just to the Earth below my feet, to my neighbour by my side and to the light which comes from above and within, and this wonderful world of ours may be a little more beautiful and happy for my having lived in it.” Richard St. Barbe Baker Friends of the Trees Speech, 1980.
      Though the afforestation areas are a true testament to Saskatoon’s heritage, and champion the city as a true pioneer in climate change mitigation, the afforestation areas are not a part of municipal reserve, the afforestation lands belong to the City land bank and are not City park space. “Saskatoon facing ‘immediate fiscal crisis’” says Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark.(Giles, March 23, 2017) There are no immediate plans to place the afforestation areas, and the attendant wetlands into municipal reserve where funding could be allocated through the various city departments, however in the face of the fiscal crisis, there is no immediate plans to change the status quo of the afforestation areas, and they will remain in the city of Saskatoon “land bank” and not be a part of City park space Former Mayor Brad Wall mentioned on facebook that  “We [the provincial government] think it is fair they [the city of Saskatoon] use some of their reserves or perhaps reconsider spending decisions, rather than a court injunction or an increase in local taxes.”(CBC News, March 23, 2017) The drastic shortage in finances has left the afforestation areas in limbo. They are not municipal reserve. They are not City of Saskatoon park space, the afforestation areas ‘preserved in perpetuity by city council (1979) belong to “land bank.” “Informally, the City of Saskatoon has been buying, developing and selling land since the 1920s. The City formally established the Land Bank in 1954 to acquire land for future development.”(City of Saskatoon About us)
    18. The wetlands located here are one of the only sites in Saskatchewan to view the ruddy duck Oxyura jamaicensis. The wetlands possess the capacity to provide foraging, and breeding grounds for many other species, Great Blue Heron Ardea Herodias, Canada goose Branta canadensis, Black Crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax, American white pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, a plethora of waterfowl and migrating birds. The site provides an amazing opportunity for hikers, bikers, birdwatchers, and nature enthusiasts to connect to nature outdoors.  Though there are activity restriction guidelines by the Government of Saskatchewan for nesting colonies of colonial nesting birds, there is no funding for the afforestation areas.
      As the afforestation areas are not declared as municipal reserves, nor are they a part of the City of Saskatoon park inventory, there is therefore no funding available for the afforestation areas. Though these birds have been sighted at the Chappell Marsh wetlands, to date, there has been no investigation into whether or not nesting colonies exist in the wetlands.  AS $11.4 million dollars in funding to the City of Saskatoon has been drastically cut by the provincial government, there is no foreseeable plan to place the afforestation areas into municipal reserve. “This leaves a significant hole in our operating budget,” says Mayor Charlie Clark.(Saskatoon, March 2017)
      The MVA, has no funding capabilities, either. “The provincial budget has slashed funding for a conservation group dedicated to protecting the South Saskatchewan River.
      The Saskatchewan Party has cut $409,000 from the Meewasin Valley Authority, roughly half of the province’s annual contribution of $909,000.” (CBC News, 2017)

      I believe, therefore, that water must be a basic consideration in all our national and earth wide forest programmes. Streams and rivers must be restored to their natural motion and thus floods and droughts must be eliminated. Forests and woodlands are intimately linked with biological, social and spiritual well-being.” Richard St. Barbe Baker Friends of the Trees Speech, 1980

    1. The afforestation area situated in the West Swale wetlands provides a naturalized area enhancing wilderness tourism, and as such is an advocate for environmental, social, and economic wilderness tourism. As such, the West Swale wetlands provide recreational and aesthetic appreciation of a permanent wetlands in the case of “Chappell Marsh”.  It is hard to comprehend, however, the entirety of the afforestation areas are located in a wetlands area according to botanists, though the permanent wetlands area are only “Chappell Marsh.”
      Though the opportunity arises for a naturalized area, there are no immediate plans to place the afforestation area into municipal urban reserve nor into City Park Space as requested April 25, 2016 by former councillor Pat Lorje, so there is no opportunity for funding provided to the afforestation areas, the Blairmore sector urban regional parks by the City of Saskatoon.  So the afforestation area urban regional parks are parks in naming title only, they do NOT belong to City of Saskatoon park space, the afforestation areas belong to Saskatoon Land Bank. “Provincial cuts this year combined with direct and indirect downloading of costs adds up to nearly $59 million…Mike Jordan, the City of Saskatoon’s director of government relations, said those costs have “substantial financial implications.”” (CBC News, April 10, 2017)For the areas managed by the MVA, the MVA is in a similar pickle, with funding being cut off to this environmental conservation agency. The MVA “lost $400,000 in funding” (SUMA 2017)
    1. The wetlands, themselves operate similar to a sponge, mitigating flooding controlling flow to the South Saskatchewan River near Yorath Island, soaking up rainfall, and releasing the moisture over time playing a vital role in the hydro-logic cycle. Wetlands also act as sustainable carbon “sinks” playing a vital role in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere slowing climate change. This role of a healthy wetlands, provides huge economic benefits as they already exist, without charge, as an ecosystem service to remove water pollutants, store floodwaters, and sequester carbon.Wetlands also act as amazing biogeochemical cycling ecosystems removing and transforming nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorous from surface water. Wetlands function as amazing systems protecting and improving water quality while recharging groundwater supply.
      As the afforestation areas are not a part of municipal urban reserve, there can be allocated no funding by any City programme.  As such, there is no money to clean up the George Genereux urban regional park which is located in the West Swale wetlands which is covered in trash at all of the entrances.  Nor is there any money for the Richard St. Barbe Baker afforestation area to ensure that ATVs and 4x4s cannot drive through these urban regional parks.  There are no signs up announcing that the afforestation areas are urban regional parks, so therefore the lands appear to be vacant crown lands which under regulations are permissible for ATVs and 4x4s to drive in.  The afforestation areas are not covered by any funding as is the case of municipal reserves, so therefore there is no capability to provide the urban regional parks with any signs identifying the afforestation areas as urban regional parks.
      “Fairness is the key and whatever we present to government will be looking at fairness and sharing the pain.” spoke Government Relations Minister Donna Harpauer “Fairness is exactly what the mayors of the province’s two largest cities say they are also looking for. Those cities are still receiving significantly less money. “(Fraser, 2017) The City of Saskatoon report “states provincial cuts this year combined with direct and indirect downloading of costs adds up to nearly $59 million.”(CBC News, April 10, 2017)
      “The Meewasin Valley Authority (MVA) lost $409,000 from the provincial Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport. “(Levy, 2017) The ripple effect of the provincial cuts has come to the afforestation areas. The Meewasin Valley Authority is a conservation organization created by the Provincial Government of Saskatchewan in Canada and is dedicated to conserving the cultural and natural resources of the South Saskatchewan River Valley. Though the wetlands are invaluable resource as biogeochemical cycling ecosystems there can be no money to prevent illegal trespass, nor erect signs which may mitigate illegal trash dumping, there are no funds available.

    I believe that water must be the basic consideration in all our national and earth- wide forest programmes. Streams and rivers must be returned to their natural motion. What is a natural motion? A river flowing in its natural course comes to a bend. This gives it a spiral motion. It comes to a marrow, this provides tension. It broadens out, here is relaxation. This is how blood circulates in our veins and the sap circulates in a tree. This is the natural motion. When you destroy this natural motion, the water goes on its way sick or cancerous. When water comes up against a dam, the natural motion is destroyed and the water becomes sick. This sickness spreads up to the tributary rivers and to the fields through which these rivers have come and the sickness will go to the fields bordering these rivers and will affect the grazing animals. They say that cancer is a disease of civilization. You will accept that, won’t you? It was unknown till we called ourselves civilized.”Richard St. Barbe Baker Friends of the Trees Speech, 1980

    1. By providing a natural habitat for birds, wetlands help to control pests. It is amazing the numbers of leaf eating insects which birds help to control.
        1. As can be seen by the superb educational tours by Ducks Unlimited in the neighbouring Chappell Marsh Conservation Area, Chappell Marsh provides an amazing opportunity for education, scientific research, and education of youth and visitors on biodiversity in support of  Ducks Unlimited work.
          However, as there are not any short term plans to place the afforestation areas into municipal urban reserve, there is no money for any type of program of any sort by the City of Saskatoon.  “The loss of the grants will leave the city $8.3 million short in its 2017 budget and $11.4 million short each year that follows.”(CBC News, March 27, 2017)
          The MVA is likewise strapped for cash, and there are no short term plans advanced by the MVA for any programming in their controlled lands in the afforestation areas. MVA CEO Lloyd Isaak “said the board is already looking towards how the organization can remain fiscally sound. ‘We’re going to be working with our board and our stakeholders to determine how to position Meewasin so that we have fiscal stability in the future,” he said. “But pulling out the provincial funding would have profound impacts on Meewasin as we know it.'” (Shields, 2017)
        2. The afforestation area has the potential to provide futherance to the very large design of the Fatlanders Fat Tire Bike Brigade (FFTB) trails which are groomed for the winter sport of Fat Bicycling. The City of Saskatoon and the MVA have both announced that they have no money and that providing any welcome to the general public in the form of signage is out of the question as the afforestation area is most definitely not part of Municipal Urban Reserve and there is no plan to place the afforestation areas into municipal urban reserve in the short term due to the absolute shortage in money for the city and the MVA also concurs, as they, too also lament their absolute dire lack of funds. Because the hands are tied by the City and MVA financial woes, the FFTB private club have to date received carte blanche permissions  to do pretty much anything anywhere in the making of a plethora of fat bicycle trails in this city owned green space.  The afforestation areas are faced with the long range plans of becoming solely a winter fat tire bicycle park.
          30 people in a privately run bicycle group can figure out how to create trails, create a programme for signage, and waymarking, however the MVA and city cannot. ““We can’t just simply stop what we are doing and find $12 million at this point,” former City manager Murray Totland said.(Giles, March 23, 2017)
          “We certainly knew that there was financial pressure on the province and we thought there would be some modest reduction, but we didn’t think it would be a 45 per cent cut from the provincial government,” Meewasin Valley Authority CEO Lloyd Isaak said.(Giles, March 24, 2017)
        3. The afforestation area has the potential to sustain recreation for City of Saskatoon youth with a BMX jump / trick park and yet still opportunities arise regarding safety issues. The City of Saskatoon has not come forward with any plans to place the afforestation areas into Municipal Urban Reserve, so therefore at this time the City of Saskatoon is presented with a challenge without any source of funding.  Concerned tax payers are crossing their fingers that a youngster on the BMX trick park does not meet with injury, a travesty in and of itself, and yet what financial shortfall would the city be in if they were sued because of a tragic accident? There are no safety regulations, no organisation, and no policing of procedure in any form whatsoever. Additionally this lack of any money means that the afforestation area has no possible method to avert accidents for the Saskatoon youth who use the jump park without proper safety protocols, the city has no possible modus operandi to ensure that dangers posed to the trees are mitigated.  As well there is no money to ensure that provincial and municipal environment protection bylaws for the wetlands are followed and sorted out.
          “How does the province’s decision to cut out grants-in-lieu affect Saskatoon residents? This decision will have an annual impact of $11.4 million dollars to the City, equivalent to a 5.63% property tax increase. It forces City Council to choose between raising taxes and/or making cuts to core services such as snow clearing, leisure facilities, police, or fire.”(City of Saskatoon, 2017)
          The MVA has no immediate plans for the afforestation area, as the “Meewasin received about $900,000 from the province last year. The number accounted for about 35 per cent of the authority’s total budget, with the City of Saskatoon and the University of Saskatchewan covering the remainder. This year’s budget will see the MVA receive about $400,000 less.”(Menz, 2017)
        4. The afforestation areas are so so scenic, beautiful and relaxing (once the trash is removed). The Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area received community volunteer cleans ups in June 2015, July 2016, and October 2016, March 2017. The ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park has received no clean ups. Neither the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area nor the ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park have received fencing, signs, or vehicle restriction barricades. These afforestation areas appear to be vacant land unowned and uncared for by anybody, and they receive a lot of illegal dumping, and illegal trespass.
          It would be nice to have ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park cleaned up too, so it could be used safely and without fear as well as it seems to be very very picturesque, however there are no short term plans to place the afforestation areas into municipal urban reserve, so therefore there is absolutely no money to clean up the huge amounts of trash dumped in the  ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park located in the West Swale wetlands.  This very sad predicament mans that ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park cannot be walked in, nor can vehicles access the ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park as the quantity of construction materials with nails, and shingles with nails located in the trash piles is very high posting a serious risk.
          However, this situation will likely remain, as the afforestation areas do not belong to municipal urban reserve nor are they a part of City Park Space. Because the afforestation areas are a part of Saskatoon’s land bank, there is no money allocated to any Saskatoon department to clean up the ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park. Note the ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park is an ‘urban regional park’ in the naming process of city council 1979 only it is NOT a part of City Park Space.
          There are no funds available for the City of Saskatoon nor for the MVA to proceed with any projects in regards to the afforestation areas.      “Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark says a surprise provincial budget cut could cost the city more than $10 million and create a “fiscal crisis” in 2017. Wednesday’s budget put an end to $36 million in grants”(Bridges, 2017) In discussing the Province cuts $400K from Meewasin funding and the province taking over Wascana Centre, h Christine Tell, the minister responsible for the provincial capital commission, in a news release, said that “I want to offer reassurances that under the new model we will continue to invest in infrastructure and make sure the park is well-maintained for all those who enjoy the beauty of this natural and recreational area.” However, that being said, there is still trash and illegal trespass in the West Swale wetlands and afforestation areas of the Blairmore sector.
        5. The wetlands with their emergent vegetation provide great and varied flora which attract diverse animal species. Besides birds and waterfowl already mentioned, the wetlands and associated riparian woodlands attract reptiles, and mammals who seek food, water and shelter in the adjacent riparian woodlands of the afforestation areas. The existence of the Tiger Salamander Ambystoma tigrinum, Northern Leopard Frog Lithobates pipiens, Woodland Frog Lithobates sylvaticus, muskrat Ondatra zibethicus, Mule Deer Odocoileus hemionus, White Tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus, Skunk Mephitis mephitis, North American porcupine Erethizon dorsatum, snowshoe hare, cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus. The Government of Saskatchewan has put into place activity restriction guidelines  regarding the Northern Leopard Frog.  nocturnal nature walks by the Nature Society reveals species of owls, and very likely bats as well. Besides waterfowl, and the declining numbers of songbirds under watch by the Saskatoon Nature Society the American Kestrel, Falco Sparverius, and Mountain Bluebird Sialia currucoides are both species which have received attentions in the West Swale and afforestation areas.  The black-capped chickadee Poecile atricapillus, Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus, Bohemian waxwing Bombycilla garrulus, and numerous sparrow species are among the common avian sightings. The spring season welcomes the The American robin Turdus migratorius, and western meadowlarkSturnella neglecta.The afforestation areas are not in municipal reserve placed before the city by former city councillor Pat Lorje April 25, 2016, and reviewed May 39, 2017. As the afforestation areas are not a part of the city’s urban reserves, nor do the afforestation areas belong to city’s park space inventory there is no funding available by any city department.
          “Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said the city is facing a potential financial crisis following the release of the 2017-18 Saskatchewan budget.”(Giles, March 23) “The government also announced it will be changing legislation to eliminate the requirement that the University of Saskatchewan’s 30 per cent funding commitment to the MVA remain in place.” (Giles, March 24) This has the potential to further reduce funding to the MVA which has already been cut $400,000 in funding.
        6. The Forestry Farm Park and Zoo are absolutely wonderful ways for urban families to appreciate animals while living in an urban setting. However, it is also true that experiencing nature, wildlife in the natural setting is a true treat, and a testament to the City of Saskatoon that there still exists an oasis of green space where one can still see such a variety of flora and fauna inside of the city limits.  AS there are no plans on the horizon to place the afforestation areas into municipal urban reserve, there is no money available for fences nor gates to keep vehicles, 4x4s or ATVS  out of the afforestation areas.  The afforestation areas are not a part of the City of Saskatoon municipal urban reserves, without funding there can be no signs erected letting anyone know that the afforestation areas are urban regional parks, and are thus open to illegal trespass, trash dumping, illegal activities, and a host of bylaw violations. The afforestation areas are sadly urban regional parks in name only as they are not in municipal reserve nor are there any immediate plans to place the afforestation areas in city park space. The naming by city council in 1979 as urban regional parks has not been followed up upon. The act to ‘preserve the afforestation areas in perpetuity” by city council of 1972 has not been carried out ~ the afforestation areas are just lands held by the City of Saskatoon land bank, there is NO money allocated by any City department for their care nor for their upkeep in anyway whatsoever. There is NO money for public signs to define the vacant looking lands as city property. There is NO money for fencing or gates to keep illegal trespass and illegal activity out of the afforestation area.
          The afforestation areas predicament was placed before the city by former city councillor Pat Lorje April 25, 2016 requesting that the lands be placed in municipal reserve and into City park space, and reviewed May 39, 2017. There are NO short terms plans for the afforestation areas by the city of Saskatoon long range planners.
          “There was no mention of it [budget cuts could cost Saskatoon $11.4M] whatsoever and this could engender a real fiscal crisis for our city for this year,” said Saskatoon mayor Charlie Clark (Bridges, 2017)
          “Meewasin Valley Authority funding cut by $409K in Saskatchewan budget.”(Giles, March 23, 2017)As has been determined, the MVA has no immediate plans for the afforestation areas in the Blairmore sector of Saskatoon. The city of Saskatoon long range planners have no immediate plans for the afforestation areas in the Blairmore sector of Saskatoon, either.  The long range plans in terms of monetary budget in February 2018 for the afforestation areas is nothing as Saskatoon’s population grows to just over 380,000 by 2035, and as the Saskatoon census metropolitan area is fore-casted to reach a population of 448,985, the afforestation areas, around 380 hectares of land, will at this time may only service the current plans available for the afforestation areas due to budget restraints put forward by 30 members of the Fat Tire Fatlanders Brigade for their  winter bicycling and their trail creation.  Is there something for everybody of the city of Saskatoon?  No.

      Are the members of the FFTB the only people in the entirety of the city of Saskatoon who can figure anything out?  It is truly wonderful and remarkable that the FFTB can figure out how to get it done.  What happens now?   Is there no money in the budget for a sign to be  erected, as well, welcoming the general public?  Winter bicycling is absolutely, tremendously fantastic, though there are other activities in a Winter City such as Saskatoon, such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, nature hikes, bird watching, etc, etc. which can go on alongside winter fat bicycling.

      The general public needs consideration as well.

      Though 380 hectares of land should provide the opportunities for the long range planners City of Saskatoon and the Meewasin Valley Authority to provide a naturalized areas for the population of the city. Though our children will see the city rise to about 1/2 million by 2015, there no plans for these afforestation areas whatsoever because as of February 2018 there was no money in the budget for the afforestation area. There is absolutely no way to protect the afforestation areas so that our grandchildren may still see a frog, a deer, or other creature inside of city limits within the wildlife habitat corridor of afforestation areas. There is no safeguard on the wetlands, which the afforestation areas exist in, at all.

      The  city and the MVA have the opportunity to follow up on Truth and Reconciliation for our first nations peoples of Saskatoon. “We respectfully acknowledge that the afforestation areas exist upon Treaty 6 territory and the traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people”. However, as the afforestation areas are not part of a municipal reserve, there is NO carry through to protect, conserve, or take care of take care of the riparian woodlands, wetlands, or grasslands of the afforestation areas in any planning at all.

      There may be some value to the afforestation areas.

      However, these facts remain;

          • Nothing is financed, nor planned for the general public in regards to an urban regional park as the afforestation areas are NOT in municipal reserve, and not in city park space.
          • Nothing is similarly in the long range planning in terms of curbing the illegal activity, and illegal trespass which have gone on for years, in the forms of fencing or gates to prevent access by motorized vehicle.  The afforestation areas belong to land bank, and as such there is NO  money that the city can allocate to the afforestation areas for any purpose whatsoever.
          • Nothing is in the planning stages for erecting signs so that the vacant looking lands are defined as city owned lands, as there is no money allocated in the budget for the afforestation areas.
          • The afforestation areas named as urban regional parks in 1979 by city council only and not by the parks department.  The afforestation areas belong to land bank,  they are NOT in municipal reserve, and not in city park space.
          • The afforestation areas were ‘preserved in perpetuity’ on paper by city council in 1972 and not in real life as has been evident by the massive trash removed on several community volunteer clean ups removing huge amounts of trash and the ‘George Genereux” afforestation area which has received no clean up at all.
          • There have been grass fires in the afforestation areas over the years, and two massive grass fires at the nearby “Buck’s auto parts” requiring fire protective services from both the City of Saskatoon and the RM of Corman Park 344.  If a grass fire gets away and becomes a forest fire in the afforestation area, it would have devastating consequences for the neighbouring residents of Cedar Villa Estates, and for those train cars carrying flammable goods in the adjacent CN Chappell Yards Train station.  There is NO funding to fill in the existing large fire hole built to burn wood pallets for campfire parties, or convert it to a fire pit of city or provincial standards.  As you will see on reading this article, there is no funding for signs in regards to any fires in the afforestation areas.  There is NO funding for signs in regards to any fires in the afforestation areas.

      Is it really true that nothing can be done?

      West Swale and Richard St. Barbe Baker AFforestation Area wildlife Urban Forest Semi-Wilderness Area. Mountain Bluebird, White Tailed Deer Fawn. Barred Tiger Salamander or western tiger salamander. American Pelican, Mallard Duckling
      West Swale and Richard St. Barbe Baker AFforestation Area wildlife Urban Forest Semi-Wilderness Area. Mountain Bluebird, White Tailed Deer Fawn. Barred Tiger Salamander or western tiger salamander. American Pelican, Mallard Duckling

If you can think of anymore values for the afforestation areas, please comment.

Please, if you have any values which you personally treasure about the afforestation areas, again it would be fantastic to hear your comment.

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding the afforestation areas in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada?

Bibliography
About Us, City of Saskatoon

Bridges, Alicia. Grant cuts in budget could cost Saskatoon $11.4M. Provincial budget cuts $36 million in grants for municipalities from SaskPower and SaskEnergy CBC News Mar 23, 2017

Fraser, D.C. Provincial government capping reduction to grants-in-lieu funding at 30% Regina Leader-Post March 31, 2017

Giles, David. Meewasin Valley Authority funding cut by $409K in Saskatchewan budget Global News. March 23, 2017

Giles, David. Saskatoon facing ‘immediate fiscal crisis’: Mayor Charlie Clark Global News. March 25, 2017

Levy, Bryn. Meewasin Valley Authority sees funds slashed in provincial budget 650 CKOM March 22, 2017

Menz, Kevin. Province cuts $400K from Meewasin funding, takes over Wascana Centre CTV Saskatoon

Provincial government cuts push financial burden onto City residents & taxpayers: Choices facing City Council are to raise property taxes or cut City services City of Saskatoon March 24, 2017

Provincial cuts, downloading costs Saskatoon $59M, city says. City official says costs have ‘substantial financial implications’ for taxpayers CBC News Posted: Apr 10, 2017
SUMA FAQ What did the provincial government do with payments in lieu to municipalities? CBC News. May 4, 2017

Shield, David. Meewasin Valley Authority to close interpretive centre CEO Lloyd Isaak says the centre will close July 1st CBC News Jun 08, 2016

Wilson, Jacqueline. Saskatoon mulls legal action over cuts in Saskatchewan budget Global News March 26, 2017

Saskatoon may have no legal grounds to challenge budget cuts, says prof Saskatchewan’s largest city threatening court injunction after provincial budget CBC News Mar 27, 2017

Shield, David. Meewasin Valley Authority losing nearly half its provincial funding ‘very challenging,’ says Saskatoon mayor
Authority and city had feared bigger cuts or end of provincial funding
CBC News. March 22, 2017

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Author: stbarbebaker

This website is about the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area - an urban regional park of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The hosts are the stewards of the afforestation area. The afforestation area received its name in honour of the great humanitarian, Richard St. Barbe Baker. Richard St. Barbe Baker (9 October 1889 – 9 June 1982) was an English forester, environmental activist and author, who contributed greatly to worldwide reforestation efforts. As a leader, he founded an organization, Men of the Trees, still active today, whose many chapters carry out reforestation internationally. {Wikipedia} Email is StBarbeBaker AT yahoo.com to reach the Stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

8 thoughts on “Values of the Afforestation Areas”

  1. “Menoyawenek”! Now that’s an excellent word to add to any vocabulary in any language to greet people with, as well as to aspire for. 😊 Thanks for richly afforesting your readers’ thoughts with this blog!

    Like

    1. Yes. But without it being in municipal reserve or not in park space. Not so much. Arrggghhhh and now budget funding cuts. What to do? I would have hoped so too. It would be nice to win the lottery. !

      Like

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