Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Shifting territory


The park where Shadow-dog and I often walk is an interesting place. Early in the last century, people mined into the river bank below it for coal to heat their homes, so there were a few coal mines in the ravine under the tennis courts near McNally School. They've been sealed off for years, and though I remember seeing boarded up areas in the ravine as a kid, I'm not sure how easy it is to find the tunnels anymore. Even if you could find them, they're definitely not safe enough to visit!


From above, it's not too hard to tell where they once were -- just look for rolling, humpy territory toward the edges of the park. The landscape is shifting, and for the past twenty years or so, the City has had to adjust bike paths and put in monitors to keep track of the slumping areas of the riverbank.


Every spring, a few more trees and bushes seem to slide down the side of the hill, and this year is no exception. With the snow-melt, it appears that good sections of the lost coal mines must have collapsed even further, and it's interesting to see how the edge of the cliff is shifting.


A few more of my favourite black balsam trees have fallen from the edge and slid down a few feet, leaving a pretty sharp drop. It makes me wonder how much further the collapse will reach into the park. There used to be a fair bit of space between the soccer/football area and the ravine edge for families to sit and watch games, but the area is getting narrower every year.


I grew up with this park looking quite different, with a curvy bike path travelling its edge, and a lot of flat field. Now the chain link fences are showing signs of marching into the ravine with some of the trees. 


One thing's sure -- it's probably not a good idea to walk along the edge on wet days, or you might find yourself riding shifting territory...


right down to the bottom with the caution signs!

Nature definitely has a way of filling in gaps and creating something new and different in the process!

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