"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
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.
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!
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.