Friday November 21, 2014

Historical sites and protected areas in jeopardy

Northwest Vignettes

For many years knowledgeable people have mentioned there should be a monument on The Lookout, the high hill overlooking Pine Island from the south side of the North Saskatchewan River near the Mouth of Big Gully Creek to commemorate the history of the island. In 1991, Bill Bullock persuaded the Government of Saskatchewan to supply a plaque to be put on a suitable rock. He was too ill to finish the plan in detail so he asked Vern Schrank and I, who were involved in the project, to carry it to the end.

The information on the plaque was finalized by Schrank. The large boulder was put in place by the John Davis Company and the cement platform engineered by Willie Franks, who also put the bronze plaque in place. It was an exacting job as it was a large, heavy plaque. Bill Bullock was also able to be on hand to help. Also involved were May McConnell and the Maidstone Historical Society.

The story of the fur trade as it pertained to Pine Island and area was on that plaque. With good and bad sides, it is part of our history. Part of our present around here is vandalism, ignorance and theft, which explains why this expensive and handsome plaque has been stolen.

It took 13 and a half years of hard work for a group of more than 30 people, people who were raised close to the land, and who were gathered together by me, to get some legal protection for the 700 acres around the mouth of Big Gully Creek. In this we were hugely assisted by Nature Saskatchewan, the highly respected original environmental society of the province.

All the knowledge, work and dedication, the money raised for projects like this mean nothing to ignorant people who have no conscience. To them the land is something to destroy in the name of “fun,” to tear apart with quads and four-wheel drives, or worse, a place to get drunk, a place for illegal bear bating, a place to which they haul filthy garbage all the way from Lloydminster to dump it.

Oh yes they love the great outdoors.

Will the attitude changed? Not likely. Not around here. Case in point: railway ties were stacked underneath the Speckle Park sign along Highway 16 to build a raised bed around the sign in which to plant shrubs. Before anyone had the time to do that at least half the ties were stolen and that didn’t surprise anyone. At one time it might have, but these are boom times when some people have more money than brains and, to repeat, no conscience and certainly no civic pride.

The phrase, “It’s all about me” fits the times perfectly. It doesn’t mean, however, that everyone should shrug their collective shoulders and go back to watching the hockey game on television, because then the crooks will surely win, and not one historic site or protected area will be left.



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