Scene 14: Saratoga Park
The name Saratoga is derived from “se-rach-ta-gue”, meaning the hillside country of the quiet river. Saratoga Park is located along the Seven Persons Creek. At the foot of Scholten Hill, its shaded, meandering trail follows slumping, shrub and grassland slopes, and treed riparian areas.
This area was a favoured campsite and burial ground used by First Nations, fur traders, buffalo hide hunters, and early settlers traveling between the Saskatchewan and Missouri River drainage basins. An informal settlement of Metis and Indigenous people thrived here in the early 20th century. Inhabited until 2010, the site of the community is now recognized as a Municipal Historic Area.
A. Metis Settlement.
“This area is significant to the Metis people who first called Medicine Hat home.” In honour of this history, Saratoga Park is designated as a Municipal Historic Area.
B. Silver Sagebrush
The Blackfoot called this woody shrub “ah-pu-tu-uis” (weasel grass). This plant has important values, and was used in ceremonies and for cleansing. Prior to harvesting the leaves, it is important to give thanks.
C. Five Roses Flour
Of Scottish decent, the Ogilvie Flour Mill was constructed in 1921. Closed today, it stands by Saratoga Park as an important part of our City’s culture and agriculture-food history.
D. Nature’s Foragers
Contrary to popular belief, magpies serve a valuable role in nature. These birds forage mostly by walking on the ground or they may use their bill to flip over items in search of food. Sometimes they steal food from other birds. Supposedly they may follow predators at times to pick up any scraps that they leave. They also take ticks from the backs of deer, elk, and other animals. Their diet is quite varied, but they feed on insects more consistently than most members of the crow family. They eats many grasshoppers, caterpillars, flies, beetles, as well as carrion, rodents, eggs and the young of other birds, and sometimes small snakes. Vegetable matter such as berries, seeds, and nuts may be eaten more in winter.
E. Red Leaf of Time
A family walk and a reminder that our Scenic Views will soon transition to winter.
- All photos by Len Moser except where indicated otherwise under photo.