No Digging? No Doubt. Don’t Even Bag it Up

Posted on November 13, 2019

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The layers of human history and activity that stretch through the Fort Heritage Precinct, Fort Saskatchewan’s downtown core, and river valley can be enticing to amateur archaeologists and metal detector hobbyists. People have occupied and used these lands in various ways for centuries, and who knows what might be lurking beneath the soil? An Indigenous projectile point, a horseshoe, or any number of lost relics from the North-West Mounted Police Fort and old Provincial Gaol may only be a pass with a metal detector away from discovery.

As exciting as this may be, it is also illegal. As per City Bylaw No. 1952 (below), The City of Fort Saskatchewan does not permit unauthorized digging on City property. This includes the Fort Heritage Precinct (Peter T. Ream Historic Park), Legacy Park, Turner Park, and all other City-owned and managed property.

 Bylaw No. 1952

Part III – 1 (d) and (k)

  • No person within the confines of the Park shall:
  1. d) Cut, break, bend, climb upon, or in any way injure or deface any turf, tree, shrub, hedge, plant, flower, park ornament, building, playground equipment or other installation.
  2. k) Other than an authorized employee of the City, dig into the earth of any park nor remove trees, rock or any other matter that is fixed or growing from within the park.

Bylaw No. 1952 protects Fort Saskatchewan’s natural and historic resources for the enjoyment of current and future residents. Unauthorized digging disturbs the natural beauty and negatively affects biodiversity in our parks. Furthermore, digging, unless performed by permitted professional archaeologists, disconnects historical artifacts from their provenience (its location data within the stratigraphy of an archaeological site). Provenience is the thread that connects an archaeological find to the larger story of a historic site. Without provenience, it is like having only the first page from a 400-page book.

Please help protect and preserve our parks and the Fort Heritage Precinct for everyone to enjoy.

Have questions about Bylaw No. 1952? Please contact the City of Fort Saskatchewan’s Culture & Heritage Supervisor at 780-912-2168.

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