Bois Des Esprits
One of Canada's largest urban forests, the Bois-des-Esprits (Woods Where The Spirits Dwell), is located in Winnipeg. This forest houses a large variety of vegetation, including giant oaks aspens, blue herons. However, it almost went extinct due to new housing developments.
According to a 2001 conceptual research funded by Western Diversification that the City, Ladco Company Limited (a Land Developer) and SOS all took part in, the idea was to establish an interpretive centre, trails and canoe launches within and around Bois-des-Esprits. It was almost all Grade A habitat with the highest sensitivity to disturbance. This habitat contained 24 mammal, 149 bird, amphibians, reptiles and 180+ plant species in four types of habitats: upland forest, river bottom forest, tall grass prairie and upland forests.
Ladco owned 63%. The provincial owned 37%. Ladco wanted to take advantage of the proposed Royalwood neighbourhood in south St. Vital, which was being sold at an alarming rate during the early 2000s.
Ladco began to bulldoze a large area of the forest in order to permit surveyors to access the future site for the bridge. SOS expressed outrage at the lack of approval to allow development on the site. Ladco's bulldozers had to be temporarily stopped after being informed by the City they needed authorization.
SOS, then led by president Bev Sawchuk, aimed to purchase the land to protect it from development, with a price tag pegged at $2.8 million. SOS met the City to discuss the matter. The City agreed to pay $1.6million and asked SOS for the remainder of the funding. SOS contacted hundreds of corporations and foundations across Canada, made presentations, attended many meetings, and launched a postcard campaign (including breathtaking pictures of the forest) in which members of the community were encouraged to indicate their support for the preservation of Bois-des-Esprits by mailing the postcards to the premier of Manitoba.
SOS managed to raise $110,000 and Ladco contributed $213,000. By the end of 2003, 66 acres had been protected. The entire 82-acre area was saved from destruction by the City Council in 2005. This, in part, was due to the $930,000 contribution from the Province. Now it was time for a management plan. In collaboration with Ladco and SLMcleod Consulting and the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba, Tammy Rutherford was the president. A massive study was done to assess the condition of the land and identify suitable sites for trail construction. It also helped classify and catalog the wildlife within the forest.
After the completion of the management plan in 2008 (available here), construction began on a trail system. Care was taken in locating and building the trails to minimize the number of trees removed and avoid damage to nearby standing trees.
Spirits of The Seine
Thanks to many skilled carvers, the Bois-des-Esprits still lives up to its title. Woody Mhitik, a 3 m tall tree spirit is undoubtedly the main attraction of the forest. Woody is a former 75-foot Elm tree, which was taken down due to Dutch Elm diseases in 2004. Walter Mirosh and Robert Leclair, Les Gens de Bois Woodcarving Club, initiated the protection and transformation of Woody.
Learn more about Woody-Mhitik here
Woody Mhitik Carving – Visitors at Seine River Greenway in Nearly 2 Decades
Alana Col * CBC News Woody Mhitik (the spirit tree) was completed in 2006. Denis De. Pape. This tree carving is no longer in existence.
Since nearly 20 years, Woody-Mhitik (the spirit tree) has attracted visitors to the Seine River Greenway's south St. Vital section. It was visible in bits on Saturday.
Walter Mirosh said, "It is sad", after he spent two years carving Woody-Mhitik together with Robert Leclair.
"We saw it as an indicator to the forest ….. This attracted many people to the area. Woody is not only there for Woody. But also all the other wonderful things going on in the forest. This is exactly what Mirosh wanted to accomplish when he began carving the tree in 2004 with Leclair.
Woody Mhitik Pieces In Winnipeg'S Bois Des-Esprits
Woody-Mhitik (a well-known tree-carving, found hidden away in Winnipeg’s Bois-des-Esprits) was destroyed 27 days ago. 1:04 Instead, Woody-Mhitik was carved out of the lower part of a 150-year-old elm tree that had been identified as needing to be removed due to Dutch elm disease. Save Our Seine reports that the city granted permission to use the lower half of the tree, provided the bark is removed so the disease doesn't spread.
Michele Kading, executive director of Save Our Seine, said Woody-Mhitik had become the face of the Bois-des-Esprits area.
It had been damaged for some time, but she claimed it. Also, the carving had been burned in a wood fire in 2011.
Fire destroys part of Seine River spirit tree "It had been decaying, decomposing naturally for the last few years and I guess it just was unable to hold itself up anymore," said Kading.
She said, "As an naturalist, I understand it's natural. But as an interpreter who is passionate about the forest, I also know that its value goes beyond ecological."
It meant something spiritually to them.
August 6, 2020, 7:15 p.m. – 8 p.m. Edt
Welcome to the Bois des Esprits, Winnipeg's urban forest. This 117 acre riparian woodland is the longest continuous protected riverbank woodland in Winnipeg with several diverse oxbow, or u-shaped, wetlands.
We will meet east of Royalwood Bridge, at Shorehill Dr. & St. Anne's Rd. The large, open greenspace. Park in the No Frills parking lot at St. Anne's Rd. We will meet at 7:15 pm, hike starts at 7:30 pm. It doesn't matter if it rains or not, so bring your best clothes.
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27 days back
27 days ago
News Woody-Mhitik (a well-known tree-carving tucked away at Winnipeg's Bois-des-Esprits) is no more standing.
You can invest in trees for a vibrant, healthy city.
Denis De adapted this tree story. Save Our Seine Environmental Inc., Pape. The 20th Anniversary Booklet entitled “1990-2010: Twenty Years of Saving Seine River Greenway.” All photos by Denis De. Pape.
For Save Our Seine (SOS), there is likely no greater feather in the cap than the jewel that is the "forest of spirits", the Bois-des-Esprits . SOS took the greatest amount of effort to preserve the forest covering 120 acres from the development in order to tackle this issue. What follows is a brief telling of a saga that consumed 10 years of effort.
Riverbottom forest. Highly productive zone at the edge of the river. The area can be flooded frequently in spring. You can find many tree species, including cottonwood, American Elm, American Elm, green Ash, and maple trees.
The City of Winnipeg, Ladco Homes, Save Our Seine and Western Diversification funded a conceptual study in 2001. It was suggested that an interpretive centre, walking trails, and canoe launches should be set up around Bois-des-Esprits. This 110-acre forest is adjacent to St. Anne's Road and the Seine River. This forest, which was almost entirely Grade A habitat, had an extremely high tolerance to disturbance. It featured 24 mammal species, including its own deer population, 149 bird species, including great horned owls and pileated woodpeckers who resided year round, 25 fish species plus amphibians and reptiles, as well as 180+ different plants in 4 types of habitat: wetland, river bottom forest, up-land oak and aspen forest and tall grass prairie. There is a large number of old oak trees left in Winnipeg.
Ladco Homes was the owner of 64%, with the Province claiming 38%. The purchase agreement covering the forest's upland section dates back to 1989. Ladco was looking to make a profit on the Royalwood neighbourhood in south St Vital, where housing lots had been selling quickly since the beginning of 2000. These included developing part of Bois-des-Esprits' lands and removing some forest.
Full canopy in summer
Save our Seine wasn't happy with the possibility of losing the Seine River Greenway's last sizable, intact forest. This led SOS to launch a major initiative to have all of the lands in Bois-des-Esprits protected for development. Campaign to raise funds for development of Bois-des-Esprits land owned by Ladco was the foundation of this campaign. SOS, which was then headed by Bev sawchuk as president, aimed to acquire the land at a cost of $2.3 million. After several years of heavy lobbying of the City and Province and collecting private donations, they had succeeded in securing most of the required amount. The $1,000,000 contribution was made by the City and Province. Any donations above $600,000. will be matched by SOS. SOS had to raise $700,000. by December 31 2002 in order to purchase and preserve the forest.
Bois-Des-Esprits now has a Protector
Tanya Misseghers Posted Monday, November 16, 2020 at 12:21 pm CST Print Email Luka Gray is a friend of the Bois-des-Esprits from Royalwood.
The information contained in this article may not be up-to-date as it was last published on 16/11/2020 (which is 298 days ago).
Luka Gray is 11 years old and has made a new friend for the Bois-des-Esprits at Royalwood.
Save Our Seine shared Luka’s story with Facebook in October. Luka had spent more time picking up trash at John Bruce Road's pedestrian bridge. It was all to keep wildlife healthy and thrive.
SUPPLIED Photo Luka Gray spent last Month picking up trash and other garbage near John Bruce Road in Bois-des-Esprits.
While riding with my mom, I noticed turtles while crossing the bridge. I went under the bridge to get a closer look, then I saw a ton of garbage and knew I had to do something," he said.
Luka got his inspiration from his grandfather who was an Alberta conservation volunteer and tracked collared bears. Luka says that his favourite thing about the Bois-des-Esprits was the wildlife.