An evening walk along Beverley Creek

April 12, 2010

The sun felt a little warm this afternoon for a few minutes, so I decided today would be a good time to visit the pool below the Old Mill in Delta and see if the shiners were up yet. For those of you not raised along the Rideau, “shiner” is a local name for the black crappie, a delicious panfish which runs in mid-spring below dams and locks.

In my experience the crappie run after the perch have spawned at Delta. No perch were in evidence yet, just bluegills, an occasional rock bass, and a few large smallmouth getting dibs on early spawning beds.

As I worked my way down the broad creek into Beverley Lake Park, my attention wandered to the new plantings along the shore. They’ve really been working on the trees this year. I guess you’d call it a shelter belt along the sod bank: they have little spruces, white cedars, and several different deciduous trees and shrubs in a ten-foot band along much of the creek.

On my return along a new road cut through a trimmed-down soccer field I discovered a very ambitious project: they have moved in about four dozen ten-to-twelve-foot trees with a tractor-mounted planting spade. The builders used these young trees to define a number of new lots for camping on the property and a boulevard which will soon shade the road access. They even mixed in a few spruce with the maple and ash in the planting.

At the end of the playing field I admired the rows of nannyberry and high-bush cranberry. (Those were the two shrubs I could identify.) My cranberries went into soggy soil and aren’t doing as well as these planted on the end of a soccer field. Whoever planned this area obviously knew what he or she was doing.

Over by the Bradford Pavillion I noticed 18 new floating docks, recently constructed. From the new gaps in the cattails along the bank, it looks as though they will be used to create slips for more campers along the creek. That’s the advantage of Beverley Creek as a place to keep a small boat – it’s very well sheltered from wind and waves.

With an abundance of docking on both sides of the creek and ready access to Lower Beverley Lake, Delta must be a great place to keep a small boat. Pontoon boats with upscale outboards seem to be the vessel of choice for waterfront property owners.

As I picked my way down the bank of the creek, I couldn’t help but notice the care and effort both campers and management lavish on this park. The people who live and work here obviously love the place.

The land is dominated by massive trees. Where else can you fish or stroll along a stream with 100’ pines towering above? Go a little further and you are into the crown of the deciduous forest, with oaks at least ninety feet tall meeting overhead. I looked for some time at a young black cherry which has managed to reach the top of the canopy for its share of the sunlight – an area about 4’ by 6’ – but that’s apparently enough for this magnificent young tree.

Almost no one was around at the time of my evening walk, but the place has the look of a well-regulated facility. What struck me most were the signs, or rather their scarcity. One sign seemed to be enough for each rule: “No bikes after dark.” “Scoop after your dog.” Sensible, practical rules to enable a group to live together in reasonable comfort.

The swimming area looks just fine, though of course it had little appeal to me as a fisherman on the prowl. The cottages on the site look highly desirable, and so do many of the trailers, well established on landscaped lots.

As I approached the office I noticed a series of modified farm wagons equipped with wooden railings and school bus seats, ten per vehicle. A sign on one advertised “Wagon Rides, Saturday night.” I wonder where they go and what they use to pull them?

At the time of my visit their leaves were formed but the trilliums hadn’t blossomed yet. By weekend they should be out. On a visit last year we observed that the hills within the park literally turn white when the Ontario’s official flower begins to bloom.

The shiners aren’t running yet at Delta, but it was still a lovely evening along the water. Every time I take this walk I leave for home thinking that the Lower Beverley Lake Park in Delta is the best-kept secret in Eastern Ontario tourism.

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