Monday, March 16, 2009

More from Sandbanks Provincial Park - My World Tuesdays

The white sand dunes of Sandbanks Provincial Park

"For more than 12,000 years a sculptress has been shaping the western shoreline of the County. Her tools are the winds and waves of Lake Ontario and her creation is one of the largest sand bar and dune systems in the world - Sandbanks Provincial Park." from "BreakAway to Prince Edward County 2008". This discription is about as good as it gets to describe this amazing park.

Area between the two dune ridges - looking toward Lake Ontario dunes.

I have been absolutely fascinated by it since first seeing it a week a ago. My new friends who first took me there have a specific area they like to walk, so I finally had to venture out on my own to see more. The weather has been perfect....sunny and clear and getting warmer each day!

My trusty two wheels!

Without my own "four wheels" I had to resort to "two wheels"! So for the past week I have ventured into town to get information about this area from the local library and then down to the park to explore.

View Larger Map

The sandbanks consist of a long narrow peninsula of glacial sand deposits about one & a quarter kilometres wide at its base tapering to a point eleven and half kilometres to the north near Wellington where an outlet drains West Lake.

The Lake Ontario dunes

The sandbanks lie broadside to the full force of prevailing southwesterly winds blowing across a wide expanse of Lake Ontario. Waves washing up glacial sands formed beaches where dried sands were carried inland by winds. Originally the sand hills dominated the Lake Ontario side close to the shore and formed a bulwark for the forested land beyond.

West Lake dunes

Two ranges of dunes now exist, the front range, adjacent to the beach on Lake Ontario, and a larger range at the West Lake shore to the east. The dunes were originally stablized by the development of vegetative growth which formed an obstacle to the sand-laden winds, they were de-stablized by human destruction of this vegetative cover.

Vegetation coming back on dunes - looking to West Lake

With the settlement of the area by the Loyalists some 225 years ago came the development of an agricultural economy, land owners expanded the amount of land available for cultivation and grazing or harvested the timber resources behind the dunes by clearing the trees and vegetation that had been a natural buffer.

Dunes in the forest

The exposed top soil blew away or was eroded by runoff and laid bare the sand foundation. Without the buffer, the sands began to move. When the dunes were most active the front advanced as much as 40 feet a year and some of the dunes were built up to a height of 150 feet above lake level. At it's height barns were buried and homes had to be moved, sometimes several times. Road #12 which runs through the park has had to be moved four times!

This fence was put up in the 1920s to slow the movement of the sand ,
snow fences continue to be used today in vulnerable places.

In 1922 a settler finally got the attention of the Provincial Government to do something about the prime farm land being devoured by the sands, at that time 85 acres! An active replanting program was started and in 1954 Sandbanks Provincial Park was created to protect the sandbanks and the farm land.
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Janie said...

Interesting information about the sand dunes and the way man's exploitation changed the lay of the land. Great photos!

Annie said...

Wonderful place..thanks..

You are my neighbor on MY World today, Carolyn! I live in Australia, and I am going to be in trouble because I keep forgetting to put my country on the sign in page! oops..

Love your blog...will be back!


Sylvia K said...

Really great post! Beautiful shots and great, interesting information! Thanks for sharing your world!

SandyCarlson said...

Well, how about that? That is just a gorgeous place.

mannanan said...

What an absolutely awesome place. Thank you for sharing your world with us.

Meandering Michael said...

Neat! I've been there and thought I knew a bit about the park (first time I ever saw glowing mushrooms was on a guide fungi walk in the park) but I didn't know about the shifting sands' effect on farmland (and the road). Neat!

Lori Skoog said...

I love seeing photos of your side of the lake. I will have to go down to the beach and photograph this side for you to see.

Arija said...

Interesting post. Whenever man intervenes in nature he tends to btch it up and so often it is irreversible.
Well done and illustrated.

Nessa said...

Very beautiful and interesting. Looks quite wild and even untouched.

fishing guy said...

Carolyn: Those were neat captures of the sand beach and the iced lake. That was a neat walk around your world.

Deborah Godin said...

Nice tour of your area, those are wonderful dunes. Nothing like them that I'm aware of here on Lake Erie.

John said...

Great shots and interesting information.

Elaine Dale said...

These are great winter beach shots. I walked the west beach at Port Burwell in January several winters ago and it was wonderful.
Have a great day Carolyn! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Small City Scenes said...

Very interesting post and great photos. Thanks for visiting my blog. MB

Ruth said...

Very interesting. I need to get back to this area to explore it again. Good for you using your two wheels. Cheers!

Tammie Lee said...

This is a wonderful sharing, thank you for the info. Your images are gorgeous. So nice that you have wonderful places to explore. I look forward to riding my bike again, it will be at least a month!

koala said...

How's the 2 ride in such Wintery conditions?


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