Bridges

Water crossings are something we come across on a daily basis in the boreal forest. Sometimes we are fortunate to work in areas with active hunters or forestry layout crews, and can use the bridges they have already constructed. These brides can be cut logs laid across a deep, but narrow water channel, while others have been constructed with considerable planning and engineering!

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The first thing we do when we get to an unknown bridge is test it out. It’s not always obvious that the bridge is in disrepair. In order not to add extra stress to the bridge, we travel across one at a time, each person watching the following person to make sure they safely crossed.

There are times that a water crossing would have been fine to cross on a quad, but beaver activity has flooded the area. In these cases, we like to find a sturdy, wide beaver dam to use as a foot bridge. We move slowly across, testing footholds as we go, since beaver dams, like bridges, can look more sturdy than they are. If the beaver dam seems too small or too weak, we will not cross.

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Of course, there are always the days where there are no bridges to help us get to where we are going! At that point we either have to turn around and look for a new route, or bring in different vehicle types, like an Argo.

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Author: Madeline Coleman

Madeline has been working with the amazing Tree Time Services team since September 2013. She started her adventures in archaeology at the University of Manitoba, where she completed two field schools (one in Manitoba, one in Tunisia). After graduating, she moved to Edmonton in 2007 and learned to love the ways of Boreal forest, Foothills, Prairie and Parkland archaeology. She briefly left to complete an MA at Trent University and have been holding permits in Alberta since 2013. She has worked everywhere between Medicine Hat and Indian Cabins. For now, however, her permits mostly focus on the Slave Lake Region, particularly the Marten Hills. Through the Strathcona Archaeological Society, she has had the opportunity to start her first volunteer project with another member, Amandah van Merlin at the Brazeau Reservoir. The project gives people interested in archaeology the opportunity to learn survey and excavation techniques.

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