On Tuesday, January 24th Dr Galbraith, Head of Science at the Royal Botanical Gardens, spoke to us about the Cootes to Escarpment Eco Park project. Dr Galbraith described the rare and wonderful asset that we have right here in Dundas.

The Dundas Valley is a glacial re-entrant valley; in places over 600 feet of sediment is present. 

  • Uniquely, the Niagara Escarpment faces south in this area, creating a special ecosystem 
  • It is the only remaining Great Lakes coastal wetland connected to the escarpment 
  • It is biologically rich area of 10 square kilometres with over 1600 of all species 
  • Though rich diversity several of the species are “at risk” because of human activity. 
  • It has a rich history too; stone points of 8-1000 years ago and Woodland people’s pottery of 3000 years ago gives evidence of the long presence of humans in this area. 

The area was celebrated for its natural beauty by early settlers but it was the actions of community leaders in the 1920’s (Thomas McQuestern, McMaster University, Hamilton Naturalists) that paved the way for its preservation from airports, roads and other development. More recently, the idea of the Eco Park came from collaboration of many agencies in Hamilton and Burlington, eventually resulting in a 2009 Strategic Plan proposal to create the Eco Park. You can learn more about the project at their website http://www.cootestoescarpmentpark.ca

10 organizational partners continue to work together to develop 4,700 acres, acquire more land and protect the natural spaces in the Eco Park. The arrival of bald eagles in the park 3 years ago celebrates the areas ecology and proves that recovery of a damaged environment can be done.