Category Archives: Trees

A Plea for the Peace – Refugees Welcome?

Canada’s World Refugee Obligations Met by British Columbia’s Peace River Valley Site ‘C’ Settlement


photo by Picfile /Flickr

All great civilizations have had their beginnings in
River Valleys beside great rivers.
Africa’s Rift Valley remains as the origin of the world’s peoples

The Peace River is one of Western Canada’s Great
River Valleys. Unfortunately it’s position on globe
earth far from Africa’s Rift Valley leaves it out of the
loop of history becoming home to one of the world’s civilizations.
The Peace River’s less than benign climate has not been conducive
to serious year round settlement, although with global warming
this may change. We will just have to let nature take its course.

However the Peace like all the world’s River Valley holds
the elements for sustainable human settlement, access
to continuous running fresh water with an obtainable source of
protein in its fsh and visiting wild fowl ducks & geese. In addition,
the flooding annually of the valley uplands with receding silt & soil
deposits provide rich & fertile plains for growing annual pasture
gazing grasses and woodland forest trees for fuel and construction.

While not specific to the Peace, the description of
North America’s continental evaluation of its
climate modifying physical features as described by writers
Jones and Cushman in the Peterson Nature Series Te Prairie.
I have copied the part of it that expresses North American
evolution much better than this presenter ever could:

“P
rior to the Northern Rocky Mountain uplift the entire
central North American climate had been dominated
by warm moist air masses that swept east from the Pacific from
the Gulf of Mexico. Te rising mountains created a barrier that
blocked the Pacific storms squeezing out most of their moisture
before it reached the plains. Tis rain shadow helped to create
the more arid conditions that favour growth of grasses over trees.

Fossils of camels, rhinoceroses, horses and other grass eating
herbivores unearthed on the plains suggest an erratic
progression. Recent analysis of plant micro-fossils indicates that the
extensive grasslands covered parts of the great plains even earlier
perhaps beginning in the late Eocene Epoch, 35 million years ago.

These early grasslands were dominated by “cool season”
grasses, species that thrive under relatively mild
growing conditions. Te quintessential Tallgrasses, including
warm season bluestems and switchgrasses did not begin to appear
until about 10 million years ago. Even then, forests continued to
cover much of the Great Plains with grasslands spreading during
drier climactic periods, and contracting during wetter periods.”

quoted from Peterson Series The North American Prairie by Stephen Jones & Ruth
Carol Cushman; Houghton & Mifflin
Boston 2004

The warming and drying trend continued for several
millennia reaching its maximum intensity between 8,000
and 5,000 years ago. During the height of this hot & dry period
the prairie pushed eastward replacing forests in parts of present
day Indiana Nebraska, Ohio and perhaps Pennsylvania [and also
North into the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Te
sands of Western Nebraska[Probably North into B.C. & Alberta
also]. All but a few isolated groves of conifers disappeared from
the Western Plains.
Bos Bison a smaller more agile species than
the great plains, prairie dogs and ground squirrels proliferated,
and Pronghorn populations climbed into the tens of millions.

About 5,000 years ago the Climatic Pendulum began
to swing back toward slightly cooler & wetter
conditions. By the time the first white explorers stepped out into
the grasslands the forests had begun to creep westward filling

the pockets of prairie on the Great lakes region & the upper
Mississippi River Valley [and Northward to the Peace River Valley]

Nevertheless, all of these early travelers marveled at the
expanse of grass that seemed to extend forever beyond
the last islands of forest. Nineteenth-century author Washington
Irving characterized the landscape as being “inexpressively lonely”
and like “a desert world.” Writer Francis Parkman referred to it
as “a barren, trackless waste.” In contrast, nineteenth-century
artist George Catlin extolled a land of “soul-melting scenery…
where I Heaven sheds its purest light and lends its richest tints.”

Whatever their opinions, writers & artists realized that the
Canadian Prairie Landscape as opposed to the settled
Landscapes of Britian, Europe and Eastern North America – it, the
Canadian Prairie remained an evolving landscape. Te BC Peace
River, Grasslands with those of Alberta that blend into the Alberta
is: hidden lakes and wooded rolling prairie lands extend East to meld
into a background of the Caribou Mountains, Buffalo Head Hills &
Birch Mountains complex. East of the hills & mountains lies the
Athabasca River, the tar sands, the tar sands extraction rendering works
& the open pit mines-holes around the Fort McMurray Settlement.

The Peace in the North winds & snakes around
the south end of these Caribou Mountains
and flows into Wood Buffalo, now the home of Canada’s
B o s B i s o n and the endangered Whooping Crane Grus
americana
.
It is the second largest of Canadian National Parks.

It continues to the east where it becomes a series
of lakes at east and of Lesser Slave River flowing
North to Great Slave Lake. It one of the Canadian Arctic’s
Great Lakes that remain from the melting of glaciers that
once covered Canada’s part of the North American continent.

The first attempt at human settlement of the BC Peace
River open grasslands, Alberta wooded rolling land,
hidden lake & small lakes, prairie occurred just after the end of WW1
in 1918-19, was by the Canadian Federal Government. Te Peace and
Alberta lands were called the Dominion Soldier Settlement Lands and
were also subdivided into 10 and 20 acre plots to be sold to returning
veterans and their families at very low prices with long periods &
payment at very low interest rates to Veterans and their families.
There was a minimum of infrastructure, veterans could earn enough
working on roads, gravel roads, settlements sites, school sites and the
like. It was not only other Valleys in Southern BC that were opened
for soldier’s settlements. Whereas not only in other valleys Keremeos
in the adjoining east side of the Okanagan Valley and the adjoining
Similkameen Valley. Te Fraser Valley’s Lower Mainland the program
continued in 1945 for veterans of WW2 in Richmond, the Cowichan
Valley on Vancouver Island, and Vernon in North Okanagan.

The Dominion Soldier Settlement scheme on the
Peace River lands was never very successful in
attracting settlers; it’s harsh Northern winters and remoteness,
probably the main dissuading features. The Alberta Woodland
lake land did prove attractive to settlement to veterans & other
non veterans previously in settlements such as Beaverlodge
where the Dominion Government established a crop and plant
experimental station. See Vic Chanasyk, page 1 of Miscellanea.

Other successful prairie land settlements in Alberta produce
Grand Prairie, Spirit River & other smaller settlements on the
Alberta side, with Dawson Creek and Pouce Coupe on the BC side.

In this Landscape Architect’s opinion, British Columbian
Peace River valley grasslands are ready and waiting for the
settlement. Not for veterans who are fighters of wars but their children
and grandchildren remanent of their families who are victims of wars.

In preparing Site C, that part of the Peace lands
for the damming and flooding, BC Hydro, a
provincial company, has built accommodations for it’s fort’s
employees & prepared the ground for dam construction
to flood Site C. By fortunate coincidence is made ready
to take the first wave of 1000 or so refugee immigrants.

A
start to settle, house & feed the world’s current
great human disaster. Those thousands of children
and families who have lost everything, their homes, family
members, and perhaps worst of all, their country. These people
have lost their place in the world along with their hope.

Our proposition is: Canada through the
United Nations for Our Country
to redeem its place in the world, a place where
hope can return and regain for the war ravaged immigrant, a
place back in the world in Western Canada’s Peace River Valley.

The process could begin almost immediately. BC
Hydro, Peace land owner, a BC Provincial body, could cede the
land & preliminarily preparation land work and existing worker
housing to the Canadian government, who then would give it to
the UNHCR, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,
who would ‘Run the Show’, or most of it. From selecting the
immigrants to transporting them to the Peace, building additional
housing and infrastructure. It would become the one Grand
Canadian Gesture
for humanity. Take up where we left off with
newly funded mandate, for the Blue Berets in Peace Keeping.

Let’s Do it Now!

Respectfully, with due Canadian Caution & Consideration our
two most Canadian traits.

A New Canadian Settlement

* 1000 refugees Settlement Grounds Should Site C not be built as a dam, it’s land
would need to be regenerated, an opportunity for refugees who in turn would be helping
Canada to see with a wider perspective.

Our proposal:

* Refugees to be accommodated on arrival in Canada settled & housed in the Site C
Contractor’s existing large camp.

* all quarters UN operated and managed.

* Refugees learn: by taking training in land
husbandry, Tree Keeping, food and craft
tree management & forest management,
Permaculture; along with learning English, our
Canadian history & cultural heritage.

* PM Trudeau & his Minister of Indigenous
Affairs with Tribal Chiefs of the Peace Region
to meet & welcome the new immigrants

Implementation

Employment

* Team of consultants (-see A Modest Proposal
to follow) to select suitable site C land location
to establish orchards, prairie water
dugout locations throughout site C area lands
suitably contoured to build permanent Refugee
Settlements based on the Mongolian Model. It is
one of many Site C settlement schemes possible
that can be implemented. Ian McHarg model
recommended. Complete site analysis.

* Tree keeper/management family to include 1
male or female adult, head of household, 4 or less
children – can have 2 babes in arms if the head of
house is female.

* Orcharding: Model to have 32 soft fruit &
hard fruit (edible nuts) orchards & Willows,
Corylus/Filbert, pollarding canes for woven
baskets. (elm, hardy elm), willow & garden
stakes & woven wooden fences now fences.

The Mongolian Settlement Model has
the components to provide 1000 refugee families
with sustainable year round food supply via
an adequate and sized family shelter warmed
throughout the winter by our endless supply of
affordable natural gas, passive solar, and chickens
which can be used for food, and also give off
heat.
* to sustain 100 refugee families in construction
buildings followed by a transition to greenhouse
living, and a possible larger Arcology, see
Miscellanea (in PDF at end)

* Each 100 family settlement to have living
quarters:
48 – 4 and 8 block settlements, Each one of the
blocks are either 4 homes or 8 homes, with cross
corridor to entrance, connected to 32 year round
greenhouses. Each greenhouse operated and
managed by 1 refugee family.

Site

Site selection: These writers favour Ian
McHarg’s book Design with Nature, the key
to maximizing the refugee & indigenous
settlements, their numbers, & locations on the
Peace; and Tasmania’s Bill Mollison’s Book,
writings on Permaculture, A Designers’ Manual.

* In addition each 100 family settlement
area includes 32 or more separate Prairie water
dugouts and strings of combined dugouts.

* as the Settlement ground contour dictates
settlement grounds amount 250 hectares more
or less (rough guess by water could be larger or
smaller well dugout.

* Dugout or string of dugout, string of lakes,
drainage ground lake and prairie dugout ground
slope.

* Woodland for fibre & tree wood, hardwood
trees for lumber, woodlands located as shown in
Mongolian Model see miscellanea image of site
and greenhouse and adaptation for Site C.

* Tying together site with sounding lake &
hillside, woodlands, an open prairie, grasslands,
strings of lakes, bands of forest woodlands to
give each Site C settlement a natural landscape,
pleasing visually.

* Restored Landscape – using trees, swales ( a
tree system), ornamentals as well as edibles.


Transportation

* Look to town of Churchill, Manitoba &
Bombadier Company as examples.

* Find ways to include Canadian
communities & companies to provide a
transport system to residents – Bombadier
fleet of snowmobiles, maintenance
teams, crews & staff to teach operation &
maintenance. Churchill, Manitoba to provide
knowledge of polar bear proof snow vehicles;
where they solved their bear problem by
devising safe work and transportation
equipment.

View the Proposal here

A Plea for the Peace

 

Don Hoffmann shares his Peace River Valley Photography

http://www.panoramio.com/user/6401594?with_photo_id=78664438

 

A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal
To Use the Site C De-Treed Areas of the Peace River Lands
for Silviculture and Permanent Agriculture

by Clive Justice & Jill Whitelaw

Image/Tuchodi

Site C is now cleared and graded, lying fallow, and awaiting development proposals from sustainable environmental believers & practitioners with vision and initiative. Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC, the Wilderness Committee & the David Suzuki Foundation are all globally active, locally founded, environmental protection offices in our Province. BC is now working together across political party lines with the Green-NDP Coalition to support appropriate eco-sustainable options for our energy.  Let it continue. One suggestion is autumn seeding in Fall 2017, and before the first snowfall with Helio-hydro seeding of winter hardy rye grass, Lolium perenne var. ‘Olds, alta’,  followed in the spring, planting Poplars, Populus trichocarpa in the forest, in swales, woodlots, clumps, thickets along the valley bottom and hillsides stands.

What if the pulp were then sent through a pipeline, perhaps even an existing or approved one, through an extended network of woodchip-slurry pipes? What if it were powered by wind generators or solar all the way along?

These Cottonwood hybrids are selected because the wood fibre makes a long-staple fibre suitable for newsprint, copy, kraft & fine papers, books, periodicals, cartons, packaging products, paper towels, tissues & toilet paper. One in particular, the Crown Zee Tacoma Cottonwood Poplar tree Populus trichocarpa Torr. & Gray is one of the best.  Another hybrid with very white wood can be manufactured into white paper using little or no bleach.

The BC Society of Landscape Architects / BCSLA’s land management, professional commitment that entails a full understanding of each of the provinces tree species palette [species of conifer & deciduous]: specifications for arrangement of stands of trees for forests, copses,  3, 5 or 7 tree clumps, lone tree landscapes,  and edges. The lone tree, for example: fall colour, density of colour, size, scale, how it fits into the landscape, into the meadow.  Or,  for example, initial planting of a temporary landscape of introduced different Populus species which will be harvested and made into pulp.

What if this Pipeline linked to the to existing operational processing mills, and even closed mills & new paper and pulp mills up and down the BC Coast & Islands: Prince Rupert, the new Kitimat mill,  the existing mills in New Westminister Nanaimo, the Albernis, Crofton Cambell River; and mills closed, mothballed or contemplated in process of being built or planned, throughout Pacific Northwest, our neighbours to the South: the mills in Everett, Tacoma, Idaho, Portland, etc.? A Pulp and Paper Pipeline for a myriad of Paper Products, serving not only our country,  Canada, but also the rest of the world with our forest resources, technology & experience. Canada has more of this resource than any other part of the world.

We were so distracted by gas, drilling, fracking, LNG, bitumen, and extracting oil and gas from our Canadian prairie, Arctic & subarctic surface lands ruining, destroying & laying waste to our Northern Tundra surface landscape. We should have been ashamed but instead we buried them! Canadians ‘shilly-shally’ on this issue. We want to trust our government to make the right choices, to face up to the fact that fossil fuels, like oil, are carcinogenic and non-renewable. The future of our world ought to remain pristine, natural and beautiful for 7 generations. We have a lot of bio-remediation to get this world back in shape after the promise of the ‘American Dream’.

Each region has its own micro climate, species and visual landscape. What is needed is an Aesthetic, Education and Management Group for deliberating and guiding reforestation and sustainable harvesting.  The BCSLA working group with the region’s tree and resource experts, the BC Forestry Service (BCFS), UBC Silviculture, SFU Resource & Environmental Management, local Agronomists, Indigenous Land Management and Permaculture farmers to set planting standards for spacing and species, for the planting and maintaining of Pulp Tree Forests, clear-cuts, other forests, copses and woodlots, thickets and hedgerows, lone tree aesthetic landscapes, plantings by the rivers, and pasture feeding lands for wildlife.

A great practice would be to modify the arable Peace River Valley into grass hillsides, and rolling slopes with a series of berms and swales along contours, where trees are planted. Debris such as leaves collect in the swales to support the tree crops, as well as rainfall or water released from small earth dams or bodies of water above and channeled into them. This aids retaining the Beauty of our Landscape by inter-cropping our fast growing trees with nitrogen fixing trees and plants, cold-hardy and useful vegetation, cash crops, native plants,  edge and companion plants for pest management, wildlife foraging, flowers for bees, creating a poly-culture rather than a mono-culture, all eventually successioned by replanting a natural selection of Canadian trees of that region.

This land has been disrupted, and needs to regain biodiversity and balance. Mature forests have mushrooms and shade loving groundcovers, shurbs and native wildflowers under the tree canopy. The more mature the forest the more there is in it.  Paul Stamet’s has a product called the LifeBox, a box filled with our Pacific Northwest trees as well as mushroom spores.  Stamets, from Oregon, also migrates through this region and may even help us design a very local LifeBox. Trees and mushrooms make up the bottom most and top most elements of a forest. In between are the other layers of the forest, such as shrubs and vines, which if they were native edibles such as small berries, native potatoes like plants which could be highly productive for edible species and wild-crafting the commons and allowing even more opportunity for a balanced economy for all Canadians.

There is a need for improvement throughout the Peace Valley lands & unflooded bottom lands from just below the Site 2 dam structure to just below the site C area with the reservoir area, and the surrounding areas to the natural boundary at the BC-Alberta boundary. The top water line to the lower water line we can’t landscape, but all of the lands around and above, that will be these gardens. Plant on cleared areas or in valleys on rolling terrain in plantations or in designated large farm areas.

Different ornamental gardens could be added. For celebrating Canada’s Confederation of 150 years,  for example, honouring pioneers, explorers, settlers and natives could include Landscape Heritage gardens from England’s settlers, the Garden in Memory (CWLA, CLJ Chapter 11, 2013.) which they brought to Canada to live in this harsh landscape as pioneers, learning from Canada’s landscape and plants and first peoples to survive.  To celebrate this vast tract of land in good commemorate & try to reflect the made improvements. Capability Brown, was an English landscape architect. He is remembered as “the last of the great English 18th century artists to be accorded his due”, and “England’s greatest gardener”. He designed over 170 parks, many of which still endure. He was nicknamed “Capability” because he would tell his clients that their property had “capability” for improvement.” (wiki) Each park farm or garden to contain heritage plants, such as trees, flowers and ornamentals developed by Canadian horticulturists, Frank Skinner of Dropmore, Manitoba for roses and Lilacs, and Isabella Preston of Dominion Agriculture for Lilacs and Lillies, and the ornamental Crabapples, Malus niedzwetzkyana hybrids.

With the onset of computer technology everybody thought we were going to a paperless society, when in fact we could become the greatest paper, wood, fibre society ever.  Look around, there are more newspapers than ever before, we still use and read books, give birthday cards, send and receive mail, ship locally and  in cardboard boxes, ad infinitum. Canada, especially BC has experience with paper production technology and could be a market leader throughout the world. Pulp & paper technology puts Canada in a position to be one of the largest pulp & paper producers & exporters in the world, with the possibility to become very rich, a very un-Canadian idea, however, The Pulp & Paper industry, is a low carbon industry.  Carbon in our atmosphere is called Carbon Dioxide, which many people attribute to climate change. By sequestering carbon into trees, and keeping that carbon in solid carbon form, that is, not burning it, but by turning it into pulp and paper, as well as furniture, shelter, garden trellises & structures, books, etc., we bring down the global carbon balance closer to 350ppm,  a place where our storms subside, and our climate and biosphere may return to normal, pre-industry levels of atmospheric carbon,  recreating our natural ozone layer. The Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve is a great example of sinking carbon indefinitely.

Clive Justice is Landscape Architect, Urban Planner & Garden Historian. He lives and works in Vancouver BC.

Jill Whitelaw is a Graphic Designer & Book Publisher with BC Bigleaf Maple Books. She is also a Permaculture Consultant & Educator living in East Vancouver.

Landscape photo can be found on flickr Thank you to tuchodi https://www.flickr.com/photos/tuchodi/3551991021

*links are found on the pdf /digital version for further info. See http://bcbigleafmaplebooks.ca
AModestProposalclj