On Saturday, December 7th, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is inviting the public to come out to the Marion Creek Benchlands conservation area to gather a tree for Christmas. Tree hunters will have their pick of the many excess fir and spruce trees that are springing up in the open forests.
These trees are a legacy of a Christmas tree farm that operated on the property in the 1970s. At the time it became known as Santa’s Forest.
On December 7th, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., NCC staff will help visitors find the perfect Christmas tree among the many descendants of the original Santa’s Forest. Guests will be treated to warm drinks and treats around a blazing bonfire.
This family-friendly event will help clear unwanted fir and spruce trees from the property as part of NCC’s stewardship work on the conservation area, which was protected in 2011.
Clearing the non-native trees will benefit the elk and deer that feed on the grass and shrub understory in the open forests on Marion Creek Benchlands. Badger, an endangered species that is found in the Columbia Lake area, rely on open grasslands for their survival, and preventing the forests from encroaching on the grasslands is an important step in their recovery as a species.
Reducing the excess trees will also decrease the risk of catastrophic forest fire.
To come out to Marion Creek Benchlands and find your perfect Christmas tree in Santa’s Forest, RSVP to 250-342-5521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet at Grandview Road at 11 a.m. to follow the NCC truck to Santa’s Forest, or contact NCC for a map to the property and drop by any time between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Please bring your own tools to cut and transport your tree: saw, gloves and ropes.
Remember to dress warmly and bring tire chains!
BY LESLEY NEILSON
Nature Conservancy of Canada