Monday, August 3, 2009

Ottawa River Pathway

The Ottawa River Pathway is a 31 km bike path that follows the Ottawa River along Rockcliffe Pkwy. The path includes paved portions that lead to the Aviation Parkway as well as optional portions that are hardpack and are located just a few feet from the river. There are a lot of people enjoying the path, fishermen, walkers, dog owners, children owners (I mean parents) and of course cyclists. The river is used by a large variety of watercraft and there are actually quite a few boat ramps along the way. The start of the pathway is a cute little ornamental monument. It includes the remnants of train tracks, planted with bricks and grasses which are placed in such a way as to lead the viewer's eye towards a Charlie Brown tree. Quite lopsided, but cute none-the-less. The far end of the path lands you in a subdivision - Orleans to be exact.

The route goes through Greenbelt land and I stopped by some of the plaques to take down this information...

National Capital Greenbelt. 20,000 hectare bank of farms, forests, wetlands, research establishments and open spaces. It is managed by the National Capital Commission (NCC). Around 5,000 hectares is farmland - preserved as a reminder of our farming heritage and dependence on agriculture.

These lands are leased to some 60 farmers who produce a wide variety of agricultural products - including strawberries, raspberries, pumpkins, apples, melons, beans, cucumbers, peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes and dairy products. Some are sold at the farm directly to the public. The most common crops you are likely to see along the Greenbelt Pathway are corn, soybeans and cereals; these "cash crops" are harvested for both on-farm and commercial uses.

Corn and soybeans are the most common crops grown in the Greenbelt. Because corn is a "heavy feeder", absorbing a lot of nutrients from the soil, it is usually rotated on a yearly basis with soybeans to reduce disease problems; improve the health of the soil and provide better yields. Soybeans help add nitrogen to the soil.

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