In the name of restoration…

What’s been done in the name of restoration, or, perhaps more likely, in the name of vista seeking tourists…

Maiden Rock Bluff “Natural Area” was transformed over the winter.  Imagine my surprise, after walking under the canopy of oak and cedar trees, up and down through shaded ravines to come to this, savaged scene.  It hurt, like a sudden blow to the stomach.  It wasn’t the view of the river that took my breath away.

In the foreground, those little pimply looking stubs are what remains of large, old growth cedar trees.  The brown gray area between? That’s the bare soil that still remains on the steep slopes of the bluff.

Imagine what it will look like after a hard rain.

Yes, the view is terrific.  Stunning, inspiring, worth the half mile tromp through the woods and ravines.

Goat prairies are rare; publicly accessible ones are even rarer.  There are few places along the river where the sub alpine plants of the goat prairies remain.  So, yes, there is valid reason to clear away the invasive, non-native plants that were choking out the native species.  Was that , indeed, the justification for clear cutting the slope?  I question the impetus for clearing the cedars along the edge of the bluff.  I suspect the motivation for this clearing was less about restoration of the prairie and much more about providing an unencumbered vista.

The view is spectacular, from the south view as well as the western tip of the bluff.  On the protruding leaping point we found colonies of pussytoes, and prairie smoke, while above us four peregrine falcons soared and spiraled on the thermals. In the woods wild ginger was blooming and along the edge of the trees columbine had just started to bloom.  MayApples were just about to bloom. Even the wild raspberries had tiny buds.  It was a warm spring day, a leisurely walk, some good photos and a great view.

As long as I ignored the foreground “restoration”.

I just have to wonder: Is Maiden Rock Bluff  destine to be just another Buena Vista?