I often take inspiration from various political activities or events. My column in the local weekly paper is not the right place to publish political ideas nor am I always comfortable printing my thoughts. I often soften the message, as is the case below, and insinuate things and let the reader figure it out. For this one, I'm going to help you read between the lines. In recent years there have been attempts to regulate natural features by man made maps. I find this a bit humorous as nature truly knows no bounds. Rivers flow down hill but not always within their banks. Wetlands always change and to try to protect them by putting them on a map is fool hardy. What do you think?
There are places that aren't on a map. They exist. The maps just don't represent them for what they truly are. I can show you steep ravines that hardly show up on a map. Caves very seldom show up on maps. Just because they aren't on a map doesn't mean they have nothing to offer however. I was reminded of this recently during a walk along a stream near Pleasant Ridge where a waterfall greeted me. I knew the waterfall was there but those with me knew nothing about it, despite having been through the area before.
Further up the valley there is a ravine which, according to the map, has no water. If you ask my feet however, there is plenty of water and it is very cold. I'm sure if you take that water away there would be plenty of animals that would be slightly put out. All you need to do to confirm this is take your time and notice the number of animal signs along the ravine. There were a number of birds calling, deer and raccoon tracks, lots of squirrel calls and of course lots of insects and bugs in the moist valley. By the way, you won't find any photos of those animals on the map either.
The only way to truly know what is out there is to get out there. Similar to when you are fishing, "The only way to catch a fish is to have your line in the water." If you want to see a deer in its natural habitat, you have to go find it. If you want to see a waterfall you need to follow a river. The examples are endless and the more you get out there the more examples of your own you'll have.
If something isn't on a map, or regulated, it is no less valuable than something that is mapped or something that is considered protected. Nature isn't bound by conventional laws or controlled by man made walls and barriers. Nature is always free and has a way of surprising us; sometimes in a positive way, sometimes in not so positive ways. When you get caught off guard and ill prepared by nature, the consequences can be drastic. The best we can do is be prepared to meet nature on its terms. When ever we think we have things under control, nature will surprise us.
On another note the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) wants to encourage families to get out camping. On July 19th you should practice being prepared and go out and meet nature on its terms. You don't need to go far, you simply need to get out there and practice your skills in nature. If you decide to go camping the CWF would love to have your commitment as they want to get 1 million Canadian families camping that night. Check out their website and make the commitment to get prepared for nature. You can find the "Great Canadian Campout" online at http://cwf-fcf.org/en/do-something/events/great-canadian-camp-out/. There are groups making efforts to coordinate a large local event for this area so keep an eye on local bulletin boards in case.