Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Urban Streamwalk

a new sign explaining how we affect,
and how we can protect
our urban streams
Last night I attended the Streamwalk hosted by EcoSuperior and 
the Thunder Bay District Stewardship Council along McVicar Creek.
McVicar Creek 5 July 2011
When I used to walk the recreational trail that follows McVicar Creek between Hinton and Madeline everyday on my way to work, I would thank my lucky stars for the privilege of starting my day with such serenity. The evening walks home were no different. Even in the rain.
In the winter when even the roads aren't cleared for traffic, the path along the creek is, and it's clean. People acknowledge each other with a smile, almost always saying hi or commenting on how pretty it all is. ...and birds - for some reason people are always sharing sightings of birds, in fact I would bet that happens at least once each time I visit (especially when I have my camera in my hands). It happened yesterday.

I love this path and over the years have developed a sort of personal ownership of it, which I'm sure I'm not alone in doing - especially after talking to a few of the others last night. People around here feel a strong attachment to it, and care about the trees and the wildlife that make it what it is. I could never describe what it is here well enough, you just need to experience it for yourself. 

The Streamwalk was informative, and I'm so glad I went. Davis from the Stewardship Council hosted the walk and talked about the conservation of and cohabitation with our urban streams. He also explained the moving of the recreational trail, and the new trees. Someone from the City Parks / Planning department was there also explaining reasons for moving the path, and what was being done to replant the area. Both obviously care as much for the Creek as I do, ...which was nice to hear. Lucy taught us about some of the insects (and dragonfly larvae!) who inhabit the streams, and what they can tell us about their environment; and John, a 40 year veteran from the MNR fisheries was there in waders with jars of baby stealhead. 
new  Burr Oak, Maples, Poplar, and Willows along McVicar Creek
It's evident that people are reluctant to give up the old path route, but that's not too much of a problem. Over time the trees and shrubs will fill the space, flowers and grasses will naturalize, and it will likely end up a lot like the path along the McIntyre River behind the university - with the recreational trail at a safe distance, and small sandy paths tucked around the water. Every effort was made to preserve favourite accesses to the creek, which shows just how much thought was put into this creekside renovation.
the new Recreational Trail, and the old  route to the right
Emphasized also was a message to stream-side property owners about their role in preservation. Manicured lawns that reach the water have so little to offer in comparison to a buffer of life between house and stream. 
daylilies reflecting in somebody's not so manicured stream-side yard
We all have a roll to play in the quality of water that runs off our properties into streams and on to the lake. Five blocks from our house and garden is Lake Superior, ...it's something to think about.

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