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Bulldozers and Mother Nature: A Bad Combination

July 22nd, 2023 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, what makes us think that we can improve on Mother Nature?

I have always been an advocate of the If It ain’t broke, don’t fix it school of thought. Admittedly, there are plenty of things in our world that need fixing.

But too often, instead of focusing on what is broken, human beings in their hubris look at something that is functioning properly and decide: I can make it better. My response to these ill-considered initiatives is often: You did not make it better. You made it different and in the process arguably made it less than it was before.

When it comes to Mother Nature, she increasingly needs protecting but never needs to be improved. The trouble begins when those in positions of authority confuse the two terms.

Case in point. For many years, I was regular visitor to Hilton Falls Conservation Area near Milton. The photo at the head of this post was taken there. I had not been back there for several years and decided to make an overdue return visit earlier this month.

Hilton Fills has many kilometers of hiking and biking trails. My typical hike takes me around the reservoir on the Red Oak Trail branching off onto the lengthy Beaver Dam Trail which winds through woodland with occasional sunny glades and wetlands. I only venture a short distance on the Beaver Dam Trail to a few good spots for viewing my cherished winged wonders.

In the past, the Beaver Dam Trail was a hard-packed dirt trail about 12 feet wide with grassy margins. But when I arrived at it this time, I discovered to my dismay that Conservation Halton had decided it needed to be improved.

Their improvement involved widening the opening through the woods to about 40 feet demolishing many trees in the process. They built a raised berm in the middle with a gravel trail on top of it, steeply sloped sides and plastic fencing at the tree line to ensure no one commits the cardinal sin of coming into contact with the woods.

The end result is a sterile, urban-style trail with the equivalent of a moat on either side. Anyone hiking the trail now experiences a visual and space barrier between themselves and the very nature they came seeking. Not improved in the any sense of the word and causing very real harm in the process.

Conservation Halton no doubt brought in large excavation equipment to do the work. Mother Nature does not respond well to this kind of intrusion. The wetlands along the trail used to have numerous dragonflies and damselflies cavorting about them. But on my recent visit, they were barren of any such activity. The ecosystem is damaged and may take years to recover.

The arrangement of an ecosystem is like a clock where each part works closely and in harmony with each other such that it is able to tell time. (Credit to Patrick Regoniel, Environmental Science Professor, for the metaphor.) Throw a spanner into the clock and the parts stop working together. Time stops while the ecosystem struggles to repair itself.

Conservation Halton: You battered and bruised Mother Nature on the Beaver Dam Trail. Now we have to hope and pray that she can undo the damage over time.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at .

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