On the south west of the City of Saskatoon is an urban regional park named George Genereux Park at 147.8 acres in size. It is on the west side of Saskatchewan Highway 7 (the Pike Lake Highway.) The Saskatoon border loops around the quarter section. As shown on the map below, the afforestation area is a park surrounded by the neighbouring agricultural lands of the RM of Corman Park 344.
Many people from Saskatoon, the RM of Corman Park, and tourists have not known that this forest tucked beside the CNR overpass is really an urban regional park to enjoy nature, go for walks, watch birds, engage in health and wellness by bicycle, hiking and cross country skiing. Many classroom activities are planned for George Genereux Park as it truly is an amazing place for place-based learning nature field trips.
This park is an amazing mixed woodlands, a laboratory in ecological succession, and as such has many attributes of a boreal forest ecotone merging with the moist mixed grasslands. Many people local to this area enjoy this urban regional park as they don’t have to drive north of the provincial tree line to immerse in a delightful forest experience with changing microecosystems of evergreens, deciduous trees and meadows.
Back in 1972, when this tree nursery was created, the tree planters could randomly select from a wide variety of hardy drought-resistant saplings. This results in a unique experience. As you walk, one area of the parkspace will be quite distinct and individual from another region. Tt is fascinating to see how the existing aspen bluffs, and prairie animals have adapted to the trees planted in 1972. There are species at risk in the afforestation areas commonly found in a boreal forest ecosystem at a higher elevation, but rare on the prairies.
The trees selected for planting, were planted in a weaving pattern and not north-south and east-west in rows. This weaving pattern gives the park a naturalized appearance. The original intention was that the forests would become urban regional parks for Saskatoon and area to enjoy when the city grew out this way, which is happening now with the P4G and Blairmore Sector plans. The greenspaces started out a tree nurseries to transplant trees into city parks, and now, 50 years later, the trees are too large to transplant.
Here is a summer breeding bird checklist for the park space. Members of the Saskatoon Nature Society have been ringing (banding) birds at George Genereux Park for a number of years.
And a trail map for the park to help and assist park users enjoying George Genereux Park.
Coincidentally when the City Parks department got involved with the Green Survival Program, to build on their green belt, another afforestation area was also preserved in perpetuity. The neighbouring Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is on the other side of Sk Highway 7. On the following map George Genereux is the purple square to the west, and the 326 acre Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is between Cedar Villa Estates and the CN Chappell Yards.
Please enjoy these urban regional parks located on the west side of Saskatoon! Richard St. Barbe Baker has the Chappell Marsh wetlands located within it, and to the south of Cedar Villa Road (Tsp Rd 362A) is the other side of the wetlands at Chappell Marsh Conservation Area owned by Ducks Unlimited in the RM of Corman Park. Both the afforestation areas are in the peri-urban region of the City of Saskatoon, and the greenspaces are enjoyed by health and wellness enthusiasts, dog walkers, and nature lovers. You are invited and welcomed to come out and explore these Undiscovered Forests of Saskatoon! The afforestation areas are amazing in all seasons. What will you discover?
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trail map pamphlet
Stay tuned for Sept 19-26 2021 National Forest Week events, the Nov 6 2021 Celebration honouring Richard St. Barbe Baker and the anniversary when he was bestowed the honourary Doctorate of Laws from the U of S for extraordinary humanitarian service, and the 2022 Birthday Party planned for the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas.
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For more information:
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 SE 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
Facebook for the non profit Charity Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. FriendsAreas
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““Be like a tree in pursuit of your cause. Stand firm, grip hard, thrust upward. Bend to the winds of heaven..”
Richard St. Barbe Baker