Saturday, January 30, 2010

parking but no walking

The trail that cuts through Binkley Hollow between McMaster's west parking lot and Osler Drive (across from University Plaza) is currently blocked by construction at the McMaster end. Wish I had known that before walking from Dundas to find 10 foot high chain link fences.
On the way there I got to witness the cleared swath of vegetation-less mess thanks to Hydro clearing along the transmission lines. Uck!
Saw 10 (maybe 11) white-tailed deer bounding away as I approached along the trail.

No idea how long the construction will take, but it would have been nice if they had provided some alternative access to this lovely and useful trail.
The City of Hamilton continues construction of a new Combined Sewage Overflow (CSO) tank on the southwest corner of parking zone M. The 6,000-cubic meter underground tank will hold storm water overflow and prevent the runoff from entering nearby creeks. During the construction, part of zone M has been fenced off. A temporary ramp has been built allowing vehicles to leave via existing zone M gates.
A wash station ensures construction vehicles are cleaned of any dirt and debris prior to them leaving the site. The City of Hamilton is responsible for all aspects of the project and McMaster is monitoring its progress and is in constant contact with project managers.

Friday, January 22, 2010

walking but no parking

From the Hamilton Conservation Authority web site:
Parking areas closed for winter season
Please note that the following parking areas are closed for the winter season:

Devil’s Punch Bowl
Borer’s Falls
Crooks’ Hollow (both lots)
Greensville Optimist Park
Christie Wildlife Area (Middletown Road)
The back portion (bus area) of Tew’s Falls lot
Fletcher Creek

The conservation areas themselves are open, but the trails won’t be maintained. However, you may walk into the areas. Greensville/Crooks’ Hollow parking is available at Christie Lake or the two Spencer Gorge lots. Westfield Heritage Village's office is open, (buildings are not open), weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are open by appointment after office hours. They are open for February 15's special Heritage Family Day event and Maple Syrup Festival in March.

unleashed unsafe at Warren Park

[Long overdue for a by-law change, the lovely park has had more than it's fair share of problems with owners of dogs who fail to control their pets. Our family has had more than one encounter with aggressive dogs, and owners, over the years at this park. In contrast, the leash free park off Dundurn South in Hamilton is a fenced in area whereas Warren Park is a natural setting amidst the Dundas Conservation Authority trail system, and does not lend itself to a happy and safe segregated use between hikers and nature lovers, and dogs running loose. Foxes, yes, deer, sure, but dogs, no. Hopefully a resolution is found to amend the leash-free designation here. Good bit of first-hand reporting by Mr. Campbell
Park neighbours want city to enforce rules
Warren Park leash-free designation contravenes 2003 selection criteria
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff, Published on Jan 21, 2010

Neighbours of Warren Park off Tally Ho Drive feel unwelcome in the neighborhood park and are calling for a city review of the leash-free zone that breaks the city’s own rules.

Warren Park’s free running area has existed for 23 years, but has apparently never undergone the required site evaluation introduced in 2003 when the City of Hamilton created a policy for leash free parks.

Selection criteria

The continuation of Warren Park’s leash-free designation does contradict the city’s site selection criteria because the site falls within an Environmental Significant Area and the city policy does not permit free running areas within ESAs.

City staff was not available to comment this week on the Warren Park leash free zone.

Phone calls with specific questions were not returned before deadline.

More than a dozen park neighbours gathered at a Tally Ho Drive home last weekend to share some of their own concerns. Several said they no longer feel comfortable walking in the park because of threats posed by aggressive dogs and some aggressive dog owners. They are often confronted by dogs digging, or defecating, on their private property.

Concerns over Warren Park’s leash free designation were raised last summer by the Hamilton Conservation Authority, which connects directly to the park.

Bruce Mackenzie, the HCA director of customer services and operations, told the Dundas Star News during the summer leash free dogs are not permitted on conservation lands –but there were ongoing problems enforcing that rule.

“We do have a problem, particularly with our trails adjacent to Warren Park,” Mackenzie said.

The HCA put up signs between the municipal leash-free park and its own land reminding dog owners to leash their pets. But members of the group calling themselves Warren Park For Everyone pointed out people have written the word, “Nope,” on a sign advising dog owners to leash their pets.

The residents say many of them are dog owners themselve and have nothing against the pets or their use of the park. But they argue Warren Park is unsuitable for leash-free dogs and doesn’t meet the city criteria for such a designation.

They said the opportunity to unleash dogs in a natural area has brought people from a wide area outside Dundas to the local park, which is part of a significant natural area stretching from Ogilvie Street to Sulphur Springs Road.

While individual dog owners may only let their pet run loose for an hour or less then leave the area, it becomes a 24-hour a day, seven day a week issue for the community that surrounds the park. They say it causes noise, personal property damage, threatens children and the elderly and also creates significant parking problems.

Warren Park is not leash free during the summer months, but neighbours say some dog owners ignore the restriction –in contravention of city policy.

Last Saturday afternoon, when a reporter visited the park, a loose dog walked onto Tally Ho Drive in front of an oncoming vehicle. A teenage girl struggled to control and leash the dog.

During a 20-minute walk through the park, several violations of the city’s policy were noted –including examples of dog owners who had not cleaned up after their pets. One dog charged at the reporter during the visit and the owner made no attempt to leash the pet, as required under the city policy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Redside Dace Recovery Project

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A newly installed info board at the lower Spencer Creek Trail (near the Canadian Tire trailhead) with background on the Redside Dace, a Provincial and National species at risk. Some background on the Redside Dace here.

Suggested actions you can take to help the project succeed include using a rainbarrel to reduce runoff from storms into creeks, planting native trees and shrubs, use alternatives to salt for de-icing, protect streambanks from erosion, and avoid using pesticides so that the little fish have insects to eat. Yes, these little fish jump out of the water to eat low-flying insects!

I couldn't find a link to any information about this project on the Hamilton Conservation Authority web site, their involvement was limited to installing the sign - the Hamilton Wentworth Stewardship Council was behind the project, but their web site failed to turn up any information on the project.

Monday, January 4, 2010

trail challenge


Here's a little game to try - find a destination that you can walk to, and see if there is a way to get there avoiding roads.
I live in a city, but I can walk to my work at the University without being on the road with cars - a short backstreet, an unofficial path, across the railroad tracks, through a hole in a chain link fence, under a major highway via an underpass to a parking lot used seasonally for soccer games, and then on paths maintained by the city and the Royal Botanical Gardens through a nature preserve.
From home to work, about a 4k walk, just under an hour, and it is like a different world.
It certainly makes life interesting, and I am submerged in nature with time to think and enjoy the sights and sounds from my vantage point on the trail.
Let me know if you take the challenge, and how you make out! (no trespassing on private property allowed!)
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