Sunday, May 25, 2008

Crothers' Woods Part II, Another Trail Build

Bobcat blazes a new trail

A lot was happening yesterday, new trail head opening, tree plantings, a barbeque, and some more trail construction. I came early to watch them setup a small Bobcat used for trail construction.

Walk-behind Bobcat being moved into position

New trail cut


... and after

Part of the work involved closing off a piece of bad trail. Here the trail runs straight down a sharp incline. Water erosion was exposing tree roots and the trail was being gradually widened. The new trail should prevent this from happening.

Scarifying compacted trail soil

Placing logs and soil to prevent erosion. Also serves to block the closed trail from further use.

The day before the trail build we came and rescued a few precious plant specimens. Since the trail was being cut through the forest we wanted to retain some of the good stuff.

Digging up plants in the way of the new trail

Rescued clump of Zig-zag Goldenrod

About 40 specimens of goldenrod, meadow-rue, sedges, ash and choke cherry saplings rescued. These will be replanted after the trail work is finished.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Don Valley Hike

I led a hike on Saturday. The day started with some light rain which kept the numbers down but 15 people showed up. As we hiked through Crothers' Woods the rain stopped and the sun came out. We ate lunch underneath the hydro wires just south of the Science Centre on a trail the mountain bikers call Party Atmosphere. While we were there a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks stopped in a nearby tree and gave us a singing rendition of their pretty song.

The hike wound up near Yonge and Lawrence around 2:30 PM and a few of us stopped in at Mad Monty's for a beverage. An all around good day for a hike.

I posted some pictures of the hike on Flickr.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Traffic Lights on Bayview

Traffic lights being installed at entrance to Brick Works

If you've driven down the Bayview Extension recently you may have noticed a works crew installing a new traffic light at the entrance to the Don Valley Brick Works. If you've ever tried to turn left when leaving the Brick Works you have to wait forever with all the traffic that goes by these days. What with Evergreen starting work on their new headquarters and another summer of programs and activities this is a must have addition to making the Brick Works easier to get into and out of.

I've always advocated for this, not only for car access but for cyclists and pedestrians too. If you think crossing Bayview is hard for a car just try it on a bicycle - you need nerves of steel. If they install a pedestrian button as well it could facilitate a long proposed pedestrian connection to the other side of the valley. There is just enough room between the road and the railway tracks to install a path for pedestrians. This would provide a necessary link to the Lower Don trail and to Todmorden Mills. There still needs to be some re-working of the Pottery Road bridge across the river but it wouldn't take too much effort. Once finished it would alleviate some of the isolation that has prevented the Brick Works from becoming a frequent destination for visitors to the Don Valley.

Future path connection between Brick Works and Todmorden Mills. The green square is the location of the new traffic light.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Reports May 2008

Amendments to the Ravine Protection Bylaw

The ravine protection bylaw is 6 years old now and is getting a slight makeover. The main point is that the bylaw will now be called the "Ravine and Natural Feature Protection" bylaw. This will allow it to protect ravines and other natural areas such as woodlots that are not in ravines. It will also be extended to other natural features, specifically the ancient Lake Iroquois shoreline. Most of it is already protected as parts of ravines but sections such as the stretch that runs beside Davenport Rd will also be protected.

There are also a few ravines added here and there that were missed in the first survey. There are also three small ravines being delisted in the Rouge River watershed, mainly because they have been modified by developments before the bylaw came into effect.

This was part of the May agenda for the Parks and Environment Committee.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Paddle the Don

Canoeists paddling the Don

I was at a tree planting on Sunday but afterwards I cycled down the Lower Don Trail and spotted a few canoeists who were participating in Paddle the Don. A Toronto Star reporter was one of the participants this year and wrote a tolerably good article on the event and the plight of the Don River.