Danny Frechette stands atop Snape’s Hill looking over where his project will soon establish roots. | File photoScott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Jasper Municipal Council received a progress report from Danny Frechette on his Happy Little Trees project during the March 26 committee of the whole Meeting. 

Project organizer Danny Frechette was following up on his presentation to council from last October where he suggested of entering into a joint agreement with Parks Canada and the Jasper Yellowhead Historical Society and that council direct administration to continue to work with the Happy Little Trees group to further the initiative of the Snape’s Hill project.

While the joint agreement hasn’t yet happened, the municipality has been helping behind the scenes to make sure that a 2,000-gallon commercial-grade water tank gets refilled in order to help volunteers keep some recently transplanted Douglas fir trees watered on the lot.

“Administration has been providing support to this group by ensuring that a water tank is filled and if there’s any minor help. We’ve always been able to assist when needed and that’s about as far as our assistance has really gone with this group,” said John Greathead, director of operations and utilities for the Municipality of Jasper.

“In the spring, we’ll make sure that the water is topped up and we’ll revisit it as needed. I think last year it only took us I think four times to go fill it up.”

Parks Canada previously sent a team to transplant Douglas fir trees from Lake Annette. With the help of the volunteers and the water tank, most of them are thriving.

“We’ve got over 96 per cent success rate of these trees doing very, very well. Sadly, there’s a lot of debris – logs, trees – that are occluding the trail system,” Frechette said during the meeting. “The tripping hazards… are everywhere up there.”

A large part of his intent is to beautify Snape’s Hill and increase community pride in the area. With Community FireSmart Day coming up on April 27 and the municipality’s crews anticipated to be very busy that day, he said there were volunteers interested in helping clean the hill up in advance.

Frechette said he was hoping to get a directive from council that the volunteer group could remove much of the debris and have it ready for pickup so that a lot of the leg work would be done by the volunteer group and not leaving everything on the municipality’s crews’ plate. 

“It’s always been my position that that this is a this is a community effort,” he said. “It’s a wonderful project and people are glad to help.”

Last year, the Happy Little Trees team achieved a great deal of cleanup in a pretty short period of time. It is a big effort, Frechette said. It’s almost four acres up there.

“My hope is that council can see the way clear to have us assist before the actual cleanup day so that everything is ready to be picked up curbside either on Willow Avenue or probably Lodgepole to expediate the effort because [the municipality is] doing the whole community. This is a big ask.”

Part of the grand plan for Snape’s Hill also includes establishing signage in the area. Previously, storyboards describing the significance of the area were prepared and approved by Parks Canada more than a decade ago, but those signs were never installed.

When the committee reviewed the approved signs, Coun. Wendy Hall expressed her concern that Indigenous history was not included in the text. Otherwise, she saw the value in the project.

“I’m very supportive of this project. I think it’s wonderful what Mr. Frechette is doing. I wouldn’t support these particular signs. I’m not really sure where we go from here, but I do absolutely want to support something.”

The creation and installation of these storyboards is estimated at $1,400.

By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 01, 2024 at 16:00

This item reprinted with permission from    The Fitzhugh    Jasper, Alberta

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