Yorath Island, Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan, Canada

Description of the woods:

Yorath Island Conservation Area includes 151 acres of unique cottonwood forest situated in the riparian valley of the South Saskatchewan River, south of the city of Saskatoon, in the province of Saskatchewan.

As isolated communities of complex habitat, forested islands are both highly valued and rare in the prairie ecozone. Yorath Island is one of the largest wooded riparian habitats remaining in the prairie region, and its proximity to the city makes it an exceptional and fragile resource. On the island, the forest cover varies greatly both in height and species composition, but dominant tree species include cottonwood, ash, maple, and yellow willow. The cottonwoods of this area represent the northernmost edge of the North American range, and persevere only in the floodplains of river systems. They are one of the largest North American hardwood trees.

As with most riparian forests in this area, the woodlands of Yorath Island have a dense understory, with at least 23 different shrub community types present and several areas where open meadows provide sufficient light for smaller shrubs and a mix of grass species. Only in this assortment of vegetative species can the cottonwood forest regenerate, as cottonwoods themselves require full sun to thrive, rising majestically above the dense foliage. The diversity in vegetative species has resulted in an equally diverse provision of habitat for wildlife, and bird species are abundant here. Of particular importance is habitat favourable to species such as Cooper’s Hawk, which is on the C.O.S.E.W.I.C. protection list. Additionally, coyotes, red foxes, river otter, porcupine, beaver, and both mule and whitetail deer have been sited, despite nearby urban and agricultural development, likely due to the natural state and relative isolation of the island.

Access to the island is by boat only, which can be launched from Poplar Bluffs Boat Launch, Fred Heal Canoe Launch, or one of two boat launches in the city of Saskatoon. The island is viewable from either Maple Grove, off Cartwright Street (southwest of the city of Saskatoon), or from the northern end of Chief Whitecap Park (off Saskatchewan Crescent, south of the city). As both areas are conservation parks, please keep to the trails.

This woodland is under the protection of the Meewasin Valley Authority

Pictures of the woodland:

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To locate your woodland:

Click here to see the whole 151 acres of Yorath Island on a map. This map can be zoomed in to show an aerial photo and zoomed out to show a map of how to get there.

To find your own piece of Yorath Island, Login (the button is on the menu above) and hit the 'Display on a Map' link.

Provincial Property Information is as follows:
All of Section 12, Township 36, Range 06, Meridian 03.


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