Staying on track (Day 214)…

hike

Who doesn’t like a good shortcut? I mean, really, why bother taking the hour-long scenic route to the ice cream parlor when you can just make a quick left, hop over the median, crash through some bushes, pull a quick U-turn and be there in five minutes?

Well, actually, it seems Mother Nature isn’t so fond of shortcuts.

Obviously, careening an SUV through someone’s rose garden isn’t very green, but neither is straying from a designated path while hiking up a mountain or walking in the woods — you might be trampling a microscopic ecosystem, killing off essential organisms or contributing to soil erosion.

So despite my impatience and punctuality issues, I’m going to make sure that from now on, I stick to the path whenever I’m walking through Trinity Bellwoods, going for a run in High Park or hiking around Algonquin (which I’ll be doing next weekend). Maybe I’ll even stop to smell a few roses… as long as my allergies aren’t getting to me.

Photo courtesy of me, taken while on a hike up Tunnel Mountain in Banff

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6 Responses to Staying on track (Day 214)…

  1. Shawn says:

    Can you just feel that collective nod of approval from botanists, mnium fans, and park rangers everywhere? Another subtle change, but it brings up a good point that a lot of people don’t understand how delicate some of the ecosystems in the parks they visit really are.

    ps – nice photo.
    pps – omgosh your email reply skills are lacking.
    ppps – algonquin looks like it will be nice. So you know, peeing in poison ivy will not count as a green change.

  2. chile says:

    Also be careful not to pee on a snake. Or a rare bird. I have friends that have done both, but not at the same time.

  3. Greenpa says:

    You’re totally correct about not taking short-cuts in parks. I’ve seen tons of them, where they’ve turned into horrible erosion disasters. Mostly, park trails were carefully planned to avoid problems like that.

    There’s a neat approach to planning I’ve seen once or twice, though, which is another side of the coin. On a college campus, the architect for a new building intentionally put in – NO sidewalks. This was on flat land, of course; no erosion to worry about. So it was all put to grass. Then- a full year later, after people had MADE paths, of various sizes and directions- those natural pathways got paved, so you didn’t have to walk in mud. Some were 6 feet wide; some were 3. It LOOKED beautiful- natural curves, seemingly random connections that weren’t really random at all- and it WORKED. Nobody made any new “short cut” paths- because none were needed. Every campus I’ve ever seen where they put in nice straight, square sidewalks- has got tons of “illegal” dirt shortcuts- because people needed them.

    Nice when somebody actually thinks about planning.

  4. Kristine says:

    Is this the infamous Banff, Vanessa, with the you-know-whos??

    Ahem…being a devotee of John Muir and having grown up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, I’m do my best to “leave no footprint.” Welcome to the club. :)

  5. Kristine says:

    Is this the infamous Banff, Vanessa, with the you-know-whos??

    Ahem…being a devotee of John Muir and having grown up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, I do my best to “leave no footprint.” Welcome to the club. :)

    **I just couldn’t leave that typo — feel free to nix the first posting.

  6. cheaplikeme says:

    The Colorado State Capitol bowed to public wishes a few years ago and installed official pathways where pedestrians always took the same path catty-corner across the grass.

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