Our Town Forest

FTLComm - Tisdale
July 28, 1999

A Toronto salesman who visited Ensign was teasing me one day about the Tisdale National Forest which he said consisted of a single tree. He is quite right in his perception of the prairies as being virally treeless but the people of the three prairie provinces and certainly the people in the prairie States South of the border have made it a special mission to

surround themselves with trees in their communities. The scourge of the dreaded Dutch Elm disease has threatened our village, town and city forests and made us look at them quite differently as we realise how much these stately trees mean to us all.

Here in Tisdale we had a major project in progress as spring got underway as a crew went through the town cutting all the deadwood and in some cases reducing full size trees down to their basic main trunks. This is what happened to this set of trees in front of Ted and Louise Fishers. These three trees were little more then posts when the pruning was finished and yet look at the beauty of these trees as they looked last evening. (The subtle difference in green in the picture is due to my efforts to enhance the picture as the evening shades reduced this scene to mostly darkness)

As we walked along last evening there were house after house that one could very nearly not make out at all because of the trees in the yard shrouded completely the dwelling within. This entrance way to a large two story house on the East side of town is a good example of how the hedge and trees have defined the place.

In one yard we saw cedar pyramids being used as a hedge because of the deep shadows from the canopy above. The extent of the use of trees to enhance the environment is remarkable to the point that it is a pity my salesman friend can not experience first hand the lush growth within the town.

I can recall driving through North Dakota and Montana towns and villages and being amazed at the extent of the forest in which the houses are located. Of course it is the other way around, these communities are old and the trees planted have grown to maturity around the buildings and have become the main feature of the area.

In this part of Saskatchewan, the "parkland" region which is the buffer area between the boreal forest and the prairie the country side was once covered with deciduous trees and some conifers so that regrowing trees in the towns and villages is easy. But when you drive into places like Moose Jaw and Swift Current that when Europeans came to this land were covered with short grass rolling hills it is amazing to see the extent of the forests which are now part of those communities.

The picture below was taken of the cloud, an interesting little cumulus affair but notice how the trees around the dwellings play such a major roll in the scene. The odd thing was that since I was taking a picture of the sky at the time, I had to walk a ways to find a place where the trees offered me a view of the sky, so that this very scene was photographed only because the trees did not dominate the picture.