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Eramosa Karst Conservation Area

Eramosa Karst Conservation Area extends from Highland Road to south of Rymal Road, and from Upper Mount Albion Road to Second Road West. The 180.5 acres that were transferred from the province to the Hamilton Conservation Authority is a melange of open land and woodlands such as sugar maple forests, shrub thickets, and old farm fields. The surface and groundwater drainage system that created the karst dates from about 13,000 years ago, when the last glacier retreated from the area.

The word 'karst' comes from a Slavic word meaning barren, rocky ground, and is also the name for a region in Slovenia that has a number of springs and sinkholes. Geologists use the term 'karst' to describe all similar terrain, applying it to an entire landscape instead of a single spring or sinkhole.

Eramosa is the name of the escarpment. The Eramosa Escarpment is separate from the Niagara Escarpment and located south of it, In the City of Hamilton, it is composed of a steep slope that faces north and a gentle dip slope facing south. It is much smaller than the Niagara Escarpment: its height rarely exceeds 10 metres, and 2-3 metre high cliffs only occasionally mark the crest. Most of the bedrock escarpment is buried beneath till.

The Eramosa Karst contains several features of significance, including a 335 metre-long cave that is the tenth largest in all of Ontario. There are caves, dry valleys, and even a natural limestone bridge at the entrance to a sinkhole. Inventories conducted in 2000 and 2001 found:

  • 94 plant species
  • 3 species of reptile and amphibian
  • 34 species of nesting birds
  • 5 mammal species
  • 14 species of butterfly

The Eramosa Karst has immense educational value because it is believed to be the best site in Ontario for teaching about karst features and processes.

The karst property will be made into Hamilton's newest conservation area. Among the development features being implemented are an entrance, driveway, bus and car parking lots, info kiosk with interpretive panels, washrooms, a trail system with connection trails, site clean-up, tree planting, landscaping, and fencing.

Visit the Friends of Eramosa Karst Website

Photos (provided by Joe Hollick. Click to enlarge)

Eramosa Karst
Eramosa Escarpment. Photo by Joe Hollick.  Click to enlarge.
Eramosa Karst
Eramosa Escarpment. Photo by Joe Hollick.  Click to enlarge.
Eramosa Karst
Bruce Mackenzie conducting a tour on opening day. Photo by Joe Hollick.  Click to enlarge.
Eramosa Karst
Poison Ivy is in this area, so be careful. Photo by Joe Hollick.  Click to enlarge.
Eramosa Karst
Cave opening in the Karst. Photo by Joe Hollick.  Click to enlarge.
Eramosa Karst
Eramosa Karst waterfall dry. Shot from the top. Photo by Joe Hollick.  Click to enlarge.
Eramosa Karst
Eramosa Karst waterfall dry. Photo by Joe Hollick.  Click to enlarge.
Eramosa Karst
Water bubbling to the surface at lower end of karst. Photo by Joe Hollick.  Click to enlarge.

 

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