World Rivers Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in September, which this year happens to be Sunday, 27 September 2020.
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is home to the Chappell Marsh which is a part of the West Swale. The West Swale is an ancient Pleistocene glacial spillway which was such a great natural phenomena like a huge tidal wave or flash flood which coursed over the landscape connecting the Glacial North Saskatchewan with the Glacial South Saskatchewan Lake, the precursor to the South Saskatchewan River. This event resulted in a waterway or river called the Yorath Island Spillway.
What impact did the Yorath Island Spillway have in the lives of the Palaeoindian? The Yorath Island Spillway caused such a rapid and dynamic change to the landscape similar to a avalanche or earthquake.
If one was to look at the satellite imagery on Google Maps can you find our modern Rice Lake. During the Pleistocene era Glacial Rice lake was ever so huge, it connected with the Glacial North Saskatchewan river, like a large bulge on the river. The melting glacier would melt during warmer eons contracting, and then freeze and expand during colder epochs. As the glacier melted, it retreated north east across the continent we now call North America. As the glacier melted, waters coursed down the sides of the great ice slab creating the Glacial North Saskatchewan River and Glacial South Saskatchewan Lake. The shoreline of Glacial Rice Lake could only hold so much glacial melt water in its basin. The glacier meltwaters kept coming, until Wheeush! water exploded across the plains creating a low lying land mass across the countryside currently known as the West Swale, and yet geologists refer to this great phenomenon as the Yorath Island Glacial Spillway.
How long did the river called the Yorath Island Spillway last? Long enough to create unique archeaological finds all along the banks of the spillway river. Dr. Ernie Walker in Saskatoon career started with discoveries along the West Swale, and the stories he can tell are fascinating.
Can you imagine the Palaeoindian following the animals trails while you are walking in George Genereux Urban Regional Park? There would be unique vegetation growing along the water’s edge where animals would come to feed and drink. The Palaeoindian subsisted on the buffalo even in those days, and other Pleistocene era animals and megafauna. Can you imagine the size of the Yorath Island Spillway as waterfowl are sighed on the Chappell Marsh wetlands located in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area?
Where nowadays this great ancient river is evident on satellite maps and in geography reports as lush green heritage riverbanks still standing in testament to the great waterway, along with interconnected marshes, kames, and underground natural water springs, what must have it been like all those many years ago? What is a kame? Were the Palaeoindian and animals caught off-guard by the great bursting of the banks when the flood waters rushed out?
So on World Rivers Day, celebrate Saskatoon’s South Saskatchewan River, and discover more about our rich geological past and the Yorath Island Spillway [river].
Hodges, Larry Edwin: Morphology of the South Saskatchewan River Valley Outlook to Saskatoon PhD Thesis. Department of Geography. McGill University. Montreal, Quebec. July 1971.
Theberge, John B., (1989) The Wholeness of Nature. Legacy, The Natural History of Ontario. McClelland and Stewart Inc. ISBN 0-7710-8398-X
For more information:
DRAFT P4G Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth The P4G consists of the Cities of Saskatoon, Warman, and Martensville, the Town of Osler and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park; planning for areas around the afforestation area and West Swale outside of Saskatoon city limits
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SW 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) – 355 Township Road 362-A
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of SW OLRA) – 467 Township Road 362-A
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area – 133 Range Road 3063
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Where is the George Genereux Urban Regional Park (Afforestation Area)? with map
Please help protect / enhance /commemorate your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)
The trees and vegetation, which cover the land surface of the Earth and delight the eye, are performing vital tasks incumbent upon the vegetable world in nature. Its presence is essential to earth as an organism. It is the first condition of all life; it it the ‘skin’ of the earth, for without it there can be no water, and therefore, no life.~Richard St. Barbe Baker
It is not a farce…”To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.” ~Terry Tempest Williams
“Clearly, human pressure is exerting a sudden and cataclysmic impact on much of this province, if viewed in the time-frame of evolution and geology to which the rhythms of ecosystems are tuned. The groundswell of environmental concern taking shape among us, its citizens, results in public pressure for new and stronger strictures on human exploitation and desecration…Such action is needed as the embodiment of an ethical responsibility to the land and living things, for our own well-being as well as for that of all other species.” Theberge, 1989. P.376