Disk Golf Course on the Wet Meadow at Woodbine Beach

I have led eight adult nature walks this autumn for the TDSB at Ashbridges Bay which include a look at a most interesting natural habitat. Flooding and high lake water levels a few years ago created a wet meadow on the beach.

Here are some of the plants found in the meadow:

Rough Cocklebur

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

Xanthium strumarium: A nearly cosmopolitan weed of disturbed area, but also on shores of rivers and lakes, and moist openings in floodplains, perhaps in part native.

Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium)
Xanthium strumarium (cocklebur also called clotbur)

Marsh Skullcap

Scutalleria galericulata

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

Wet or marshy shores and banks; borders of streams, rivers, lakes and ponds; swamps, thickets, and clearings; bogs, sedge meadows, cedar swamps; ditches and swales.

Marsh Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata) photo: pflanzen.deutschland.de

Jointed Rush

Juncus articulatus

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

Moist ground, sandy, clayey, and peaty shores, streams and springy places.

Jointed Rush (Juncus articulatus) photo: brc.ac.uk

Dudley’s Rush

Juncus dudleyi

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

In almost all kinds of moist places, including lake shores, edges of marshes, moist disturbed ground and roadsides, ditches, clearings in bogs, rock crevices along Lake Superior.

Dudley’s Rush (Juncus dudleyi) photo: gobotanynewenglandwild.org

Knotted Rush

Juncus nodosus

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

Moist ground generally, spreading by slender rhizomes with tuberous thickenings: shores (sand, gravel, clay, marl), edges of streams and rivers, ditches, fields, edges of bogs fens and roads through boggy ground, wet sandy excavations.

Knotted Rush (Juncus nodosus) photo: prairiemoon nursery

Shining Flatsedge

Cyperus bipartitus

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

Wet sandy or muddy, often marshy shores and banks of streams, ponds, and lakes; wet marshy hollows, wet fields, and wet meadows; ditches and swales.

Shining Flatsedge (Cyperus bipatitus) photo: minnesotawildflowers
Shining Flatsedge (Cyperus bipartitus) photo: gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org

Switchgrass

Panicum virgatum

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

Prairies, dunes, swales, oak savanna, open (often marshy) ground; spreading along roadsides and railroads.

This was apparently a major prairie grass, now often planted in habitat restorations, prairie gardens, and for wildlife. Many occurrences now are along roadsides and other weedy habitats, so its original distribution in the state is unclear

Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum)

Torrey’s Rush

Juncus torreyi

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

In moist, usually rather open ground, at edges of streams, rivers, cat-tail marshes, etc.; ditches, sandy excavations, and along railroads; probably originally wet prairies. Spreading by tuber-bearing rhizomes.

This is a large, conspicuous, and easily recognized species.

Torrey’s Rush (Juncus torreyi) photo:calflora.org

Three-square Bulrush

Schoenoplectus pungens

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

One of our commonest and most easily recognized sedges. Wet sandy, marly, gravelly, or peaty shores; marshy borders of ponds, lakes, and streams; beach pools and sandy flats; often in shallow water (up to about 1 m).

Three Square Sedge
Three Square Sedge

Purple Love Grass

Eragrostis spectabalis

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

Dry fields, sand barrens, roadsides, and railroads; often a very conspicuous plant of roadsides and dry open ground, forming large colonies.

Apparently native in the southern part of Michigan, spreading northward especially along roadsides. The large purplish inflorescences become detached and act as tumbleweeds.

Tufted Lovegrass (Eragrostis pectinacea)
Tufted Lovegrass (Eragrostis pectinacea)

Fragrant Flatsedge

Cyperus odoratus

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

Sandy or muddy shores, river banks, borders of marshes, exposed flats, ditches, etc.; sometimes spreading into disturbed ground and wet fields.

Fragrant Flatsedge (Cyperus odoratus) photo: flowers.la.coocan

Yellow Nutsedge

Cyperus esculentus

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

Moist shores, ditches, river banks, fields, and marshes; gardens, cultivated fields, and other disturbed sites, sometimes a serious weed; in sand (even dunes), mud, or clay.

Tubers produced by our wild plants are small (up to about 1 cm in diameter), but this is a very widespread species and in the old world, selections with much larger tubers (tiger nuts, chufa) have been cultivated since antiquity. There is also some evidence that Native Americans in eastern North America utilized this species, possibly for food, as far back as 8000 years ago (Hart & Ives, 2013).

Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) photo: florafinder.org

Umbrella Flatsedge

Cyperus diandrus

(Plant description from Michigan Flora – Voss and Reznicek)

Sandy to muddy shores, banks, and wet hollows, occasionally at margins of bogs.

Umbrella Flatsedge (Cyperus diandrus) photo: gobotany.nativetrust.org

There is currently a movement aimed at removing the disc course as all of this vegetation risks being trampled.

Here are notes from a recent newsletter by City Councillor Bob Bradford:

A note on new disc golf ‘holes’ at Ashbridges Bay Park 

My office has heard from a handful of community members about the additional disc golf locations that have been installed at Ashbridges Bay Park. Initially there were some concerns because they were new and there wasn’t a lot of information about how or why they were put in. Understandably residents wanted to know if there was due diligence and careful planning before they went in. There wasn’t a lot of communication before the installation, this is something the City can do better as a whole and something I’m working hard to bridge every single day.

I’m sharing this information this information in case it’s helpful and you notice the new disc golf ‘holes’. The City’s constantly looking for ways to improve services and amenities for residents. These disc golf holes are a popular amenity in the park and just add to the list of long activities you can enjoy down at the waterfront. Making this changes to the area will also help ensure there’s a regular user-group in the area to help maintain the park and keep it safe.

To be clear, the area where the holes have been installed is part of the natural beach landscape at Ashbridges Bay Park, and is neither protected nor off-limits to anyone. It’s already a well-used section of the allowable off-leash dog area that exists from November 1st to March 31st.

To install the 9 baskets and tee signs that comprise this disc-golf course, no plants or trees were removed and existing desire-line pathways were utilized. The eventual maturation of younger plantings were taken into consideration during all phases of course design and installation.

Disc golf doesn’t exclude the park space being used by others or for other passive enjoyment of the space. It doesn’t need booking and is really no different than putting down some bags and jackets for a game of frisbee in the park. The area is still open for dog-walkers, pedestrians, birders and everyone who currently enjoys the space. There are no plans, and never will be any plans, to fence off or restrict the place. There’s no plan to mow or remove any of the naturalized environment and the course was designed to allow the area to continue to naturalize. The newly planted trees in the area can mature without any interference.

For anyone who hasn’t been down to the area, the entire eastern section of this area closest to the lake (divided by the sand access road) was left completely alone. City staff teams have been clearing out the collection of beer cans, liquor bottles and general refuse while the course was being installed. Overall, the disc golf community will help keep the area cleaned up and leave it in a safer, cleaner condition than before.

Miles Hearn November 2021

2 thoughts on “Disk Golf Course on the Wet Meadow at Woodbine Beach

  1. Roberta Benson

    Thank you for this extremely informative post Miles though I can’t say I’m on-side with Councillor Bradford’s take. The biodiversity you observed is wonderful.

    Reply
  2. Carolyn Ernest Jones

    It is so nice to still be on your list. We have been back in England for about 5 years but miss the lovely walks and friends we met in our time in Canada. We hope to get back again one day. We so enjoyed our time with you, maybe you will come over to England one day.
    From Carolyn and Graham.

    Reply

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