A Walk on the Wild Side

Pleistocene megafauna

Treatment of Climate Change is much expanded as a result of recent research at the local university and we learn fascinating details of the many fluctuations from Pleistocene times to the present day warming trend.E.R. Ward Neale

Much debate has surrounded the late Pleistocene extinction of large animals. In North America, most extinctions took place within a narrow time interval, between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago…. The wave of extinctions coincided with rapid climatic changes at the end of the last glaciation. Climatic changes led to major alterations in vegetation cover on which herbivores depended, which precipitated an ecological crisis for large land animals.James S. Aber

Can you imagine walking in the footsteps of the great Giant Beaver, the Mastodon, or the American Cheetah?  12,700 years ago, 90 genera of mammals weighing over 44 kilograms 100 pounds) became extinct.

Was glacial Lake Agassiz home to the nine foot long sabertooth salmon? Would giant tortoises be walking the beaches of Glacial Lake Saskatoon I alongside the spectacular armadillo and the giant armadillo-like Glyptotherium?

Looking out over the Glacial Lakes, would giant beavers be building dams along side the glacier ice dams? Giant tortoises weighing 417 kg (919 lb) and reaching a length of 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in). Whereas Giant Beavers, Castoroides, would a length between 1.9 m (6.2 ft), and 2.2 m (7.2 ft) had a weight of 90 kg (198 lb) to 125 kg (276 lb).

When you are out in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, are you walking in the footsteps of the giant sloths and short-faced bears weighing 900 kg (1 short ton). Would you meet up with the American lions (1.6–2.5 m long (5 ft 3 in–8 ft 2 in)), dire wolves, “American cheetahs” (Miracinonyx -weighing 70 kg (150 lb)) or with saber-toothed cats like Smilodon and the scimitar cat, Homotherium? The saber toothed cat, Smilodon populator, is thought to weigh up to 400 kg (880 lb).

Can you just see the camelid animals such as two species of now extinct llamas and Camelops. And what of the other mammals, two species of bison; stag-moose; the shrub-ox and Harlan’s muskox; the 14 species of pronghorn (of which 13 are now extinct); horses; mammoths and mastodons.

Native horses and camels galloped across the plains of North America. Great teratorn birds with 25-foot wingspans stalked prey.David Polly

When you look up during your time travel excursion to the Pleistocene era, there would be birds such as giant condors and other teratorns soaring in the air overhead. One of these birds, Aiolornis incredibilis (formerly Teratornis incredibilis), of the teratorn family, was the largest known North American capable of flying possessing a wingspan of up to about 5 m (16 ft) and weighing in at 23 kg (51 lb).

Before the Quaternary extinction event there were tapirs; peccaries (Including the long nosed and flat-headed peccaries) and saiga added to the mix.

Walking in the footsteps of the Pleistocene megafauna is quite an adventure! When you are out at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, or when you are around and about the afforestation area formerly known as George Genereux Urban Regional Park, both created by the Pleistocene spillway flooding, consider also the Pleistocene mammals that wandered North America, the mastodons, giant condors and sabre toothed cats.

Ongoing analysis will no doubt have a focus on elucidating the successive train of events to better understand the geological conditions of the West Swale.  Philosophers and geologists are tantalized seeking their PhD theses uncovering and hypothesizing upon the wealth of information archived in the West Swale and South Saskatchewan River valley.

The West Swale  reconstruction of the most recent glacial retreat zipped through the Pleistocene geology, leaving us to wonder at the spectacular megafauna of the Pleistocene.  Why are there no longer any Giant Condors, or Mastodons roaming the prairies?  Why did the native North American horses and camels disappear?

Peace cannot be kept by force;
it can only be achieved by understanding.
– Albert Einstein

For directions as to how to drive to “George Genereux” Urban Regional Park

For directions on how to drive to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

For more information:

Blairmore Sector Plan Report; planning for the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area,  George Genereux Urban Regional Park and West Swale and areas around them inside of Saskatoon city limits

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

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Facebook: South West OLRA

Twitter: StBarbeBaker

Please help protect / enhance /commemorate your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, or by using e-transfers  Please and thank you!  Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated.  Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date!

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You Tube Video Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

You Tube Video Richard St Barbe Baker presented by Paul Hanley

You Tube Video Richard St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and West Swale wetlands

You Tube Video Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area – Saskatoon’s best kept secret.


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


Most of the important things in the world
have been accomplished by people
who have kept on trying
when there seemed to be no hope at all.
– Dale Carnegie

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