I had an INCREDIBLE birthday.
Jeff and I got to spend the entire day together. After he visited the dentist, we drove along the mighty St. Marys River to see how high the river is with the run off from the massive deluge of rain we received earlier in the week, then we travelled to Halifax along the water, went shopping, and hiked in Point Pleasant Park before we went to see The Fighter movie.
I’ve heard of Point Pleasant Park for years – both for its devastating tree loss during Hurricane Juan, and while I worked at the Canadian Forest Service because of the brown spruce longhorn beetle (Tetropium fuscum) outbreak.
The park is a large area at the southern tip of Halifax and there are paths and trails for walking and hiking – even areas where dogs are allowed off-leash!
There are also many old military batteries in the park. Some of them were fixed up for tourists, and some look like they were just being unearthed and preserved.
The brown spruce long horn beetle is a wood boring insect that likely came to Canada in wooden shipping containers in the Halifax harbour. The beetle is native to northern and central Europe and western Siberia where it typically attacks stressed or dying spruce trees.
The first beetles were found in Point Pleasant park in 1998. By the year 2000, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency wanted to quarantine the outbreak, and planned to cut 10,000 red spruce trees in the park to control the outbreak. Unfortunately, the Friends of Point Pleasant Park challenged the harvest in courts resulting in a temporary injunction. Eventually less than 2000 were allowed to be cut.
Then in September of 2003, Hurricane Juan hit Halifax and blew down nearly 75% of the trees in the park. The park was closed until the following June. Many Acadian tree species have been replanted in the park.
Here are some pictures we took while we walked around. It was sad Monty was there – he would have LOVED running around off-leash with the other dogs! I would love to live near this park – what a treasure for Halifax, even without the forest it once had.
Beetle exit holes:
Learn more about Point Pleasant Park: http://www.pointpleasantpark.ca