Kerncliff Park

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Nelson Quarry operated a limestone quarry on Kerns Road in Burlington until 1981.  After it closed it became the site of an ongoing rehabilitation program.  The city of Burlington purchased the old quarry with the intention of creating their first environmental park which eventually opened in 2005.  We decided to check it out and found that there is free parking on both sides of Kerns Road.  The lot on the south side of the road has an interesting concrete artifact near where we parked.  This was likely associated with the quarry across the road.

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The old quarry covers about 40 acres and is now the site of a provincially significant area of natural and scientific interest.  The quarry exposes a transitional layer between the dolomite of the Lockport Formation and the limestone of the Amabel Formation.

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The Ian Reid Side Trail is 1.4 kilometres long and allows people to traverse the wetlands on an elevated boardwalk.  It is named after a long time supporter of the Bruce Trail and a former Bruce Trail Association president.

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The boardwalk has a small observation platform in the middle of the wetlands.  Bullrushes have grown tall enough that it is hard to see the frogs and other wildlife that have made the former quarry home.

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The floor of the old quarry is remarkably flat considering it was created by blasting the limestone off the surface.

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Guard rails have been added along the top of the rock face to protect people who are hiking on the Bruce Trail which runs along the crest.  One of the characteristics of the quarry that made extraction attractive at this site is the relatively thin layer of soil on top of the limestone.  This layer is known as overburden and any place where it is more than two metres thick it becomes impractical to remove it.  There’s always are other places where the limestone is closer to the surface.

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The rock face of the quarry looks as if they just packed up and left.  There is a large amount of broken rock at the base of the cliff as if they blasted a bunch of rock and processed what they could.  Then, rather than working until they ran out of available rock, they just punched out at 5:00 and never came back.

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In the spring and summer the male goldfinch has bright yellow plumage.  The colour is attributed to carotenoids in their diet.  They typically live from 3 to 6 years in the wild but the record has been observed at 11 years.

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From the park you get views into Burlington and out to Lake Ontario in the distance.

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Black walnut trees are known for their dark hardwood that is perfect for making high quality wood furniture.  The nuts can be harvested in late September or early October and should be collected from the tree before they fall.  If you can leave an impression on the shell with your finger the nut is ripe.

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Portions of the trail are accessible for those who use some form of mobility assistance.

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Returning to the car we had another look at the concrete foundations with the tree growing out of the top of them.

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The Bruce Trail runs along the top of the cliff face and we had previously explored there in our post Bruce Trail – Kerns Road to Guelph Line.

Google Maps Link: Kerncliff Park

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