Monday, August 2, 2010

Bridges and bastards in the bush

While there was a break in the weather I took time out to check out our new bridge. Many years ago there was a lovely circular walk up one side of the river, across a log bridge up the northern bank of the river, across the weir and back along the southern path.  A few years ago the old log bridge was deemed unsafe and pushed into the water, making the circular walk impossible. It hasn’t been replaced, but we now have a new bridge across the top weir where we used to have to cross a narrow concrete wall in summer and carry our bikes across the gaps at either end, including the day I was famously lost. This was nothing compared to the two lives that were tragically lost here one winter by people trying to cross when the river was running strongly. One was a man who was trying to save his dog who had been washed off the wall.
As the burbs are filling up on the southern side of the river, the new bridge has been made wide enough to accommodate push bikes and people, and the timbers are laid cross wise so our wheels won’t get stuck like they tend to on the lower weir. It is a fabulous addition that gives us easy access to the many kilometres of good trails we have here. I still miss the old log bridge but a lovely new lookout has appeared there, you just can’t get there as part of a circuit anymore.
Our walk was spoiled only by discovering some illegal clearing in front of a house set back from the river that the owners had obviously done to give themselves clear views and access to the water. We It turns out that the person involved is a local, not a holiday home owner, which makes it seem worse as I would have expected a bit more respect as we  pride ourselves as  being a conservation conscious community.
new vandalism
old log bridge
With the floods occurring all over the world from deforestation, a few metres of vandalism on a small river in a small town may not seem a big deal. The need for a river crossing arose because people enjoy the amazing diverse flora and fauna this area has to offer, many of which are only found in this far south west corner of western Australia. Lampreys, hairy marron and giant karri trees are only a few of these unique treasures. Many people give their time freely to keep this reserve free of weed species and rubbish and the trails are maintained well enough to provide wheelchair access along much of their length. To wantonly destroy the fragile water edges that many of the water dwelling species rely on for the sake of one selfish bastard is not only deplorable, it is a slap in the face for everyone who cares for the place we so much enjoy.
That’s my rant for the week, remember to look after where you live.

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