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Showing posts from May, 2015

Scenes from a history and science hike

Photos courtesy Kamran Bakhtiari 

Trail fragment: Rim /Prospect Circuit to Coldspring Path

Beneath the shaded graveyard of the Binkley family cemetery is the McMaster Campus Services building. Prior to its construction in the late 1960s, this elevated island of land was the location of the Rim Circuit trail (or AKA Prospect Circuit), part of the Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary trails. 
Even today the adjacent hillside offers a beautiful canopy, now in fresh spring green.

As promised in a previous post, I went back to look for any sign of the former path that once connected the Rim Circuit to the lower Coldspring Path, which is, for all intents and purposes, buried beneath asphalt parking in McMaster's Lot M lot. 
Using the hand drawn map that once served to guide nature lovers through the Royal Botanical Garden (RBG) sanctuary, I looked for a relative location to any path down off the steep slopes to the floodplain below. Based on the contours of the RBG trail maps, and the angle of the hillside, it looks like the best candidate is the one pictured below:


The path i…

Rim Circuit Cut

With the former RBG trail system mostly under pavement since the late 1960s, there remain limited opportunities to hike the natural trails that once threaded their way through Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary.

Having the former trailheads -- at Thorndale for the "Maria's Walk" trail, and Lakelet Vale which lead to the Rim Circuit trail -- still intact, helps us re-visit the site with our imagination tuned to what it must have been like, and to get our bearings.


Having pieced together the location of the mostly intact Maria's walk (broken only by the driveway into the west campus), I've never ventured to take in the view that Rim Circuit would have provided. Until now, that is, and while the trail may have vanished beneath asphalt of the campus service building parking and rear service driveway/yard, I still managed to get a feel for how this trail would have been spectacular in its day.

It's a steep drop down to the floodplain, which was once covered in a …

Less driving to McMaster campus; what will the future of parking look like?

walk          bike       transit      auto        count

Faculty &  Staff 10% 11% 16% 63% 13000 Students 23% 9% 42% 26% 24000 All 18% 10% 33% 39% 37000
Note total trips by automobile are 39%. In the 1960s projections were that by 1980 54% of people would be arriving by car, so a significant shift of 15% away from car use.

Shifts in transportation choices and options continue to be discussed, with McMaster's Institute on Transportation and Logistics working on a Transportation Demand Management plan for the university that was initiated by volunteer group Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC).

With media reporting the news that Hamilton will likely be getting a light rail system (LRT) -- with McMaster the western terminus of this high-order transit system -- all indications suggest opportunity to make future reductions in single occupancy vehicle use, opening up campus space for better uses than storing cars for a few hours a day. From our perspective, this is the trajectory that leads t…