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Boreal Lake Plateau


Boreal Lake Plateau


SPINDLY SPRUCE, ROCK AND ROARING RIVERS

The earth was created the way it was by the creator, and changing it is unnatural and wrong. The land and the rivers where the Cree people hunt and fish are a garden, a gift from the Creator ... it has to be treated with love and respect to ensure that its spirit lives forever.

John Petagumskum,
Cree Elder, 1990
Parks Canada

THE LAND:

An endless patchwork of interconnected lakes, rivers full of rapids and falls, bogs, swamps, spruce forests and treeless barrens - this is an elemental land, split between water and bedrock, softened by a thin veneer of spruce forest and muskeg. Many large rivers drain westward into Hudson and James bays, dropping in a series of steps over terraces marking ancient sea levels. Large lakes cover much of the region. The topography is gentle and undulating, broken occasionally by hills.

VEGETATION:


Bog Rosemary
Bog Rosemary

The term "boreal" in the name of this region implies that the boreal forest ecosystem is a dominant feature. But actually the vegetation of the region is a south to north transition from dense spruce forests to muskeg. Fire occurs frequently and is a major influence on vegetation.

Black spruce is the dominant tree species. Closed crown forests are restricted to lowlands around lakes and along rivers. Most of the land is covered by a drunken chequerboard pattern of open black spruce woodland, low shrubs, open muskeg and of the region, the spruce become progressively more stunted and the stands more open. Shrubs such as dwarf birch, willow and Labrador tea cover a greater percentage of the land. Extensive poorly drained areas cover much of the region, with open wet black spruce woodlands, muskeg and string bogs stretching endlessly. From the air, string bogs appear as a series of sinuous light strips, like cooked spaghetti, floating across dark areas of open water. The "strings" are actually ridges of sphagnum moss growing on accumulations of peat. String bogs form on very gradual slopes, with the "strings" stretched across the bog at right angles to the slope.

region


National Parks System Plan, 3 rd Edition


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