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Rouge Park in February: Blown Milk Weed Pod in Sumac (large)

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Cold weather notwithstanding, I decided to pop down to the Rouge Valley Park today to see if I could take a few photos. Luckily, my number one son was with me during my mad impulse so was able to provide a much needed arm during the sometimes precarious trek down the hill (closed for the season to vehicular traffic) and around the bend beside the river out to the Lake. I did manage to take some reasonably nice photos, some of which I will post as photos under puzzaddled2 and others that I will play with to transform them into something approaching paintings and post here.

The mouth of the Rouge River and Rouge Beach is at the Lake Ontario end of the huge Rouge Park, which is the largest natural environment park in an urban area in North America at 40 sq km or 10,000 acres. To provide other urban comparatives, Rouge Park is 13 times the size of New York's Central Park or 33 times the size of London, England's Hyde Park. It is a precious ecosystem of biodiversity of which we (those of us who know and love this area) are very proud.

I have seen so much change in this whole area during my life. When I was growing up, we used to come out net fishing smelt in the spring in the lake and came down to swim in the river in the summers. The river was much wider and deeper then and access to it was known to only a comparatively few people, given the population of the area around it. Work was done to preserve the wetlands and now the mouth of the river is much narrower with a sand breakwater and the whole river is much shallower.

This is also a bird-watchers paradise: over 225 different types of birds live in the park. There is also an annual event in January where winter and weather-hardy volunteers go out and count birds.

I have always loved this area and we have enjoyed passing that love on to our children. We would strap on a backpack with our lunch or snack and just walk from our suburban home into wilderness beauty or out to Lake Ontario.


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