Monday, September 26, 2011

Ends and Means

A beautiful fall weekend to enjoy the Dundas Valley as the trees begin their annual transformation and the crickets create a background track, the sun bright and warm as light clouds drift by.
Solidago canadensis forms a sea of gold in open meadows (below), seen from above the Sawmill Trail, east of the main entrance driveway. "Solidago," Latin for "to make whole" (for the commonly named Goldenrod's healing properties); Solidago describes the sense I get when in nature, a chance to breathe and take time to observe the way things interconnect, to remember that we depend on the health of the earth's ecology for our well-being.
Then I sifted through the sounds of car doors slamming, and car wheels on gravel driveways, and thought about the long driveway from Governor's Road slicing through the rolling land and across little streams to get to the parking lot, and wondered if some of the people who drove knew that the Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail brings you to the same spot? I've known people who live nearby but don't realize they can get to the conservation area without driving, so perhaps there are others missing out on the ride.
So if you are reading this, and live in West Hamilton or Dundas, the rail trail is an easy ride, off road of course, and takes you past all the trails in Dundas Valley. You can cruise right in to the Rail Centre and grab a muffin and a fair trade organic coffee, and forget about cars and roads for a while.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What: Pedestrian Mobility Master Plan PIC #2
Date: Thursday, September 8, 2011
Time: 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. (open house format) & presentation at 6 pm
Location: Central Library, Hamilton and Wentworth Rooms, 555 York Blvd, Hamilton

The purpose of this study is to undertake a comprehensive Pedestrian Mobility Master Plan for the City of Hamilton. This plan will establish a 20 year (2031) framework to improve the pedestrian environment and increase the opportunity for walking as a mode of transportation (active travel) and recreation that is efficient, comfortable, safe inclusive, accessible and improve health of communities and economic development.

The first round of PICs held earlier this year identified the opportunities and constraints to walking and mobility in the City. PIC #2 will present the alternative solutions based on public and agency input gathered from PIC #1.

More information about the Master Plan, including the Boards from PIC #1 can be viewed at

A second meeting, which will present the same information, is scheduled for September 10, at Turner Park Library, Main Foyer & Program Room, 352 Rymal Rd. E., 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Open house/drop-in format, presentation at 2:00 p.m.

Sound Escape

Escaping the city is easy if you want to get away from the sights of human-built form (though with monster homes encroaching on Conservation Areas it's getting trickier) but leaving behind the sounds of civilization requires some evasive action.
Noise from lawnmowers and leaf-blowers certainly interrupt tranquil moments on trails near neighourhoods, but there is almost always the sound of traffic in our natural areas.
To escape the incessant dull roar means getting deep into the valley where the hills block sound, and where a small creek bubbles along in its own noisy, but soothing way.
Living with a constant background noise of cars, trucks and buses wears on our psyche in ways that induce stress, stress we have grown accustomed to as a price of our way of life.
But head out onto the trails, and find a place where you can only hear the natural world and you've got a great stress reliever, both from the exercise it takes to get there, and the peaceful noise of life in the woods.