Branch out with a growing legacy

Many decades ago, the Town of Fort Frances acquired property adjoining Riverview Cemetery, from a citizen named Roscoe Richardson. Mr. Richardson had planned a tree plantation on that property and took great pride in having every tree and shrub species found in the district planted there. It was an impressive collection that he would guide friends through while identifying all the different species.

Unfortunately, in expanding the cemetery, the whole collection was lost.

Reading the Town of Fort Frances’ Tree Canopy policy reminded me of Mr. Richardson’s far sightedness. The town’s policy calls for the use of native species in maintaining and growing the forest canopy of Fort Frances. This policy adopted two years ago has again come into the spotlight as the last of the elm trees planted in Fort Frances honouring all the men and women who left the district answering Canada’s call in the Second World War.

The trees are to be replaced within two years, and elsewhere where trees are removed from boulevards, they too must be replaced within the same time provided that the town allocates funds for that.

Our community has a rich heritage built on our forests. It would be wonderful to see White Pines planted that are the tallest trees in Ontario and live for over 250 Years. They are Ontario’s provincial tree and are known as the “Tree of Great Peace” by the Haudenosaunee First Nations.

The White Pine is especially important to many indigenous cultures. Traditional uses include relying on the inner bark for food and the pine resin to seal the hulls of canoes.

Along with the Norway Pine, Black Spruce, White Spruce, Paper Birch, Ash, Oak Poplar the trees tell an important story of the development of the Rainy River District. Huge sawmills delivered millions of board feet of lumber to cities in Canada and the United States. Hundreds of millions of miles of paper made from the fibre of district trees have travelled around the world.

Council has an opportunity to recognize the valour of the men and women who left for the Second World War but also has an opportunity to create a park that includes all the species of trees found in the district a dream that Roscoe Richardson started on his plot of land next to Riverview Cemetery. Perhaps that park would be the green space identified in the Shevlin Wood Yard plans.

A park showcasing our native trees would last for centuries and would highlight the foresight of today’s council.

Jim Cumming
Former Publisher
Fort Frances Times

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