One interesting sidebar to our annual research trips to the Grand Rapids Uplands is that we have been able to observe the slow decay of dead trees and regeneration of vegetation following the massive Norris Lake fire. This conflagration, in late May of 2008, burned 53,000 hectares of forest, including large areas adjacent to Highway 6 north of Grand Rapids. It turns out that the fire was started accidentally by students on an ecological program.
We were actually in the area in 2008 on the day the fire began, and I posted some fire and immediately-post-fire images a couple of years later, following those up again with some 2011 sunset shots. This September’s visit seemed like a good time to document the further regeneration, as the jack pine seedlings were a beautiful bright green against the autumn leaves, buff dolostone, and blackened trunks.
Our William Lake collecting project is pretty much done. It is sad to think that I may no longer have the chance to drive down that bar-code road as the sun sets through the scorched jackpines. I’m sure there must be some reason to continue limited collecting there, and to continue to monitor the post-fire recovery.
Thanks to Dave and Michael for ensuring that we stopped at various places along the road so that we could photograph the fire sites. I wish that my photos were as good as Michael’s!
© Graham Young, 2013