The glacier I’m talking about is the one called the Cordilleran Ice Sheet which lay over south and central BC and northern Washington State. Wikipedia has a good description of it all.
My next question is, where was the wildlife, specifically the beavers, during the ice age? We know they were out and about.
Once the ice receded the beavers expanded their territory. If the ice was gone at 15,000 years ago, that gave the rodent 5000 years to populate before the First Nations people came across on the Bering Land Bridge from Asia to settle in North America.
The beavers found what we know as Park Rill and set up house. They did what comes natural, they built dams and raised their young. Beavers are not planners, they cut all the trees down where they lived which makes that area barren, then they moved on to another location.
Eventually the trees regrew and the beaver moved back in to begin the process over again. The dams have been there forever so all the critter needed to do was to add some more sticks and mud and he was in business.
When Wally Smith and family arrived at Oliver during the early 1930’s, they found the Park Rill land barren. Wally didn’t think for a minute there was a natural reason for that, he just forged ahead, bought land and began to plan a fruit tree farm.
Fifteen years passed. The trees alongside Park Rill grew tall; poplar and mountain alder interspersed with choke cherry; a beaver’s paradise along with new and tasty woods, apple and pear!
Thus began the struggles between Wally Smith fruit grower and Castor Canadensis home maker. That war lasted 25 years until Wally sold the farm giving those battles to someone else.
Several years ago I wrote a story about my shock at seeing Wally’s former farm being laid barren; no fruit trees and no Park Rill trees either! I didn’t understand the process then; but it started long before my time and will continue long after I’m gone.
In fifteen years or so Park Rill will have 30 meter poplars and mountain alder interspersed with chokecherry; and a new and tasty wood, apple! That wood will come from the existing apple stumps which are sending out sprouts.
This time though the beaver can carry on without human interference. They will make the land barren again before they move onto greener pastures. Let us hope that human kind will understand the process this time around.