Thursday, August 03, 2006

Walking McKenzie

I was down at McKenzie Trail Recreation Area for a little while this afternoon. For those of you who aren't familiar with the park, it's the next one down the bike trail from the Nature Centre and is quite a nice picnic spot. McKenzie Trail park consists partly of a reclaimed gravel pit which has been turned into a nesting pond that is very popular with the local goose and duck population.

McKenzie's a favourite place with those who enjoy feeding geese, but I'd ask that you consider feeding them something other than bread. Bread's actually pretty tough for those birds to digest in large quantities. If you're looking for alternative foods, you might try dried peas or cracked corn. The Nature Centre Bookstore sells small bags of corn for a dollar.

Across the road from the pond is one of the lesser-known trails in Waskasoo Park. The loop at McKenzie isn't very long (it can easily be walked in twenty minutes), but it winds its way through some very interesting plant communities. My favourite is one of the few old growth White Spruce forests in Red Deer. The forest is quiet but not as dark as a younger conifer stand.

As you walk through McKenzie, see if you can spot the traces of last year's flood. McKenzie ended up as part of the river last June, but it's amazing to see how quickly the river silt is being covered up by new plant growth.

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