Smokey’s Tree Stump
Eagle-eyed drivers travelling east on the Trans-Canada Highway between Richer and Hadashville will spot a three-metre-wide tree stump. Built in the early ’70s, the concrete stump was intended to be the foundation for a statue of Smokey the Bear, the ursine champion of forest fire prevention. The would-be effigy harkened back to 1955, when a massive fire, the work of an arsonist, burned through the area and took the lives of three local men. After the stump was finished, plans for the statue were abandoned when a last-minute northward tweak to the new highway’s path put the monument site too far away. The forest reclaimed the stump until the mid-2010s, when gravel extraction for road maintenance revealed it again.
The author and professor documented his love for Manitoba’s roadside attractions in Abandoned Manitoba: From Residential Schools to Bank Vaults to Grain Elevators and its sequel, More Abandoned Manitoba: Rivers, Rails and Ruins. When not working as an aquatic ecologist at the University of Manitoba, he continues to seek out forgotten relics around the province.
Shop for his and other Manitoba stories at Indigo through the CAA eStore to earn up to 5% in CAA Dollars: caamanitoba.com/estore.
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