Saturday, December 8, 2012

Walking Away Websters

Thursday, November, 29, 2012 
Dundas Star News
Webster’s Falls plan seeks to limit parking, hiking access

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

The days of being able to park your car by Webster’s Falls or the Spencer Gorge on a weekend and hike wherever you want may be numbered.

A proposed new master plan for the area is calling for their parking lots to be closed on weekends and holidays between Easter and Thanksgiving as a way to end the traffic snarls that have plagued the area in recent years.

It also hopes to keep hikers out of the bottom of the gorge.

A consultant’s report on the plan, to be presented to a Hamilton Conservation Authority advisory board on Dec. 13, concludes the area can’t handle the estimated 80,000 people who now visit each year, a growing number of them from the Toronto region.

It proposes that visitors on peak-season weekends be directed to park at Christie Lake Conservation Area, where a shuttle bus would take them to and from Webster’s.

Parking on those weekends would no longer be allowed at Optimist Park and Greensville school, and street-parking prohibitions would be extended to Highway 8 and Harvest Road.

The recommendations are part of a proposed $1.345-million makeover for the area that includes upgrades to trails, fencing and signage, construction of wheelchair-accessible washrooms and reworking of park entrances to reduce traffic lineups.

The plan also calls on the authority to try to stop people from trampling around the bottom of Webster’s Falls by limiting access to a viewing platform on new stairs that would replace the dilapidated stone ones, shut since May for safety reasons.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Low Exposure

 Drought like conditions in the summer mean low water levels this fall. Usually beneath the water of the bay at Valley Inn Road bridge, the extensive mud flats are exposed, which, with a canoeist's eye, reveals the natural deeper channel where Grindstone Creek empties into the Bay.

The Royal Botanical Gardens have capitalized on the low water levels by planting native water plants in some areas, and they have also recorded the withdrawal of Carp from Cootes Paradise, both positive developments from an otherwise bad (drought) situation.
The City of Hamilton has installed a new sign at the York Blvd end of the Valley Inn Road/Trail. The former roadway was closed to cars a few years ago. More on the improvements at Valley Inn for a later post.