Skip to main content

Maria's (blocked) Walk


"The way leads along for several hundred feet though young deciduous woods until a junction is reached. The trail which goes uphill is Maria’s Walk leading to Thorndale Entrance."

That quote, from 1961, by RBG's Conservationist W.J. Lamoureux is part of a larger description of the trails in the Royal Botanical Gardens' Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary, now McMaster Parking lots M, N, O, and P.

The photo above is from the vantage point at the bottom of Maria's Walk, as described by Lamoureux , but we can see that 50 years later, while the trail is largely intact, the use and meaning of the area has changed drastically. 

Rather than a very nice forest trail, McMaster treats the path as a liability and goes to great lengths to block and hide its existence. People still use it, but obviously in contravention of the University's wishes. That's what happens when you pave a nature sanctuary for parking: remnants of the forest are actively marginalized and steps are taken to ensure they are avoided in favour of routing people along (inaccessible) sidewalks or onto the diesel bus that ferries parkers to the main campus.



Maria's Walk, the last of the original RBG trails in Coldspring Valley is largely intact, yet blocked, hidden and warned against by McMaster in a world where parking, not perambulatory pursuits, is the new priority.

We hope that recent signs of life from the new campus administration will herald the start of a rebirth for the campus natural spaces lost to parking. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Urquhart Butterfly Garden speaker series

A lovely butterfly garden is the perfect setting for this annual speaker series. August 4, 2018, Guest speaker: Doreen Nicoll You cannot have Monarch Butterflies without milkweed.  Doreen Nicoll has recently become a heroine for monarch butterflies, by insisting on her rights to grow milkweed in her naturalized garden in Burlington. Doreen  Nicoll has long understood that garden with nature and not against her is the best thing for our planet. She also knows that native plants are great at attracting butterflies and bees of all species. Doreen will be the first presenter in the Summer Series at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden and her topic will be Monarchs and Their Milkweed and naturalized gardening. She has wealth of information and is fun as well! The session will begin at 11 am Saturday on August 4 and last approximately one hour.  Please bring a chair. If it rains the session will be cancelled. For more information about the Urquhart Butterfly Garden please visit ur

In the beginning

I've sometimes wondered how certain plants started growing in our yard. I'm guessing seed dispersal: the wind floats some through the air, sticky burrs caught on a racoon's fur drop as they pass through at night, a nuthatch drops some seeds from its tail-end while searching for bugs on the side of a tree. The methods of delivery are varied, but the process of growth continues with time and the right conditions - rain, sun, soil -  and the wind, the racoon, the nuthatch are forgotten like the seed itself. We see goldenrod, sumach, dogwood, and it appears as though nothing preceded this moment, this forest stands inexplicably before our eyes. This is the way too with social or environmental change. Generations of germination and growth. The fruits may come after the planter has long disappeared. Like a monarch butterfly migrating - it's the generation that begins the journey that makes it possible for the next generation to arrive. I feel a little of this with the

stepping up the battle for trails

I share the columnist's (see below) angst about some of the trail closures in Cootes Paradise and the observation that the impacts of walking on habitat are less damaging than driving. Nevertheless, I can appreciate that some of the trails can and should be closed to preserve sensitive habitat. It is because Cootes is surrounded by a city that the impacts of both cars and yes, even feet, can cumulatively degrade the integrity of this nature sanctuary. Blocking trails with bushes generally seems to occur on "unofficial" trails, though I have   previously expressed my concern with closing trails that once provided access through Cootes to hook up with the Spencer Creek Trail in Dundas. The utility of a trail as a path to someplace, rather than just a recreational loop, means a lot to me , and I have hoped the RBG would reconsider the trails layout with this in mind. Again, with so many people accessing Cootes, on foot and on mountain-bikes, the threat