(Unless otherwise indicated, photos by Don of www.Wakamow.com)
This area and the Moose Jaw River was created thousands of years ago with the retreat of the glaciers. As the glaciers melted, large volumes of running water carved the earth and created the valley. At that time, water would have filled the entire valley.
River valleys go through stages of development. An immature or young river cuts a valley with steep sides. The valley assumes a "V" shape because the water flows quickly and causes rapid erosion. Conversely, mature rivers have valley walls which are much further from the river and are characterized by a series of floodplains. A mature river follows a curved and winding path forming loops called "meanders". Both river flow and erosion slow down. The Moose Jaw River is an excellent example of a mature river.
Occasionally the meandering of the river forms large "U"-shaped bends. Erosion and deposition eventually cut the bend off from the river. When this happens, a small water body called an "oxbow lake" is formed. If the river bed is deep enough and moisture is made available, the oxbow will form an open marsh. In dry or shallow conditions, the area may develop into an open meadow. Eventually, however, erosion from the surrounding area and the accumulation of organic matter fromdead plants fill in the oxbow lake. These areas are called meander scars. The continuous process of erosion and deposition provides habitat for plant growth and eventually woodland growth. This accounts for the variety of land distinctions in the river valley and Ecological Zone.