Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Wodehouse Karst Work Party

We organized a very successful work party to start developing the trails at the Wodehouse Karst property today.  It's part of the bigger Kimberley Forest which I really must write about, and is owned by the Conservation Authority.  Their Lands Manager was with us today, and is pleased to see a local community group wanting to support his trails.

This is the karst when it is flooded in the spring.  The stream is flowing toward us, but into a blind valley, where it normally disappears into a group of sinkholes.  But the sinkholes are small, so when the spring run-off occurs, the water backs up forming a lake.  The sinkholes are right in the centre of the picture, deep under the water of the lake.just beyond the trees.  In the foreground is a flooded field.  There are sinholes under it too, right where the darkest patches of water are.

About 15 people showed up today, all with clippers and loppers and saws for trail pruning.  We headed in, and this was what the open river valley looked like today.  The sinkholes are 50 feet in front of us, down among those willow and dogwood shrubs.

This is close to the same view in the spring, taken from about 30 feet to the left - because the spot where I stood to take the picture above would have been under 8 feet of water!

There wasn't much water flowing today, and this is a dull picture. Never-the-less, it shows one of the spots where the water gurgles down between the rocks into the cracks and crevices below.  The water is flowing from the top, and disappearing right at my feet.  It's actually easiest to see right now, after the leaves are off all the willow shrubs but before the snow falls.

In fact there's a limestone wall that the stream valley runs into, stopping abruptly (except during the spring flood).  The sinkholes are along and in front of the base of this rock.  I was able to show them to several people who hadn't been down to actually see the water disappear between the rocks.

In the centre of this picture, beyond the mossy rocks, is a sinkhole that only comes into use when the water level is a little higher than it was today.

And this is the hole that the water sometimes disappears into.  There are actually about 15 cracks between the rocks, spread around about an acre, where water drops downwards.  Crazy spelunkers have been known to try exploring for caves here.

The stream carries on underground, and comes out as the spring shown here on the side of the escarpment slope about half a mile to the east.

In any case it was a good day for the work party.  We got most of the trail trimmed, and near the front of the property, where the existing trail is quite wet most of the year, we scouted out a new route from the road that would be dry.  Ended up with quite an interesting route, and a new location for an entrance with possible parking.  Felt like a very productive day.


Got a number of fall chores done in the afternoon.  Repacked the shed and moved some things, so with a little more re-arranging we should be able to get both cars in the garage.  The tractor was returned today with the mower deck off and the snowblower on, so we're nearly ready!

Linking to:


  1. When you said sinkholes i immediately thought of the round mysterious holes i see on TV, and they are really scary. At least your sinkholes are not that scary because they are just like caves. I smiled when you mentioned the "crazy spelunkers", hahaha, amazing geographic formations. And that last one is a very very beautiful brook with those colorful background. I love every dynamic water flows.

  2. Thank you for conserving this beauty. If I were close I surely would help.

    Caves have to be birthed one way or another.

    I guess that makes you a keeper, too.

  3. Good job with the brush removal on the trail. Oh to be able to put my car in the garage. Hubby's shed is under construction, so when we can move some of his tools and stuff into the shed, we can drive the car into the garage!

  4. Excellent work! I would like to offer to help out on future projects there,and in the Kimberly Forest in general. My wife and I are new property owners nearby ( Sd. Rd 4a)

  5. Nice work with the brush removal. Have a nice week-end.
    JM, IL

  6. We are so lucky to have groups like you who take such good care of our Natural spaces. I'd love to see something like this. And that picture with the water flowing is AMAZING!! Love it.