Saturday, May 15, 2010

Taking the GPS for a drive.

After making a presentation on a proposed new site for Cahiague to the Huronia Chapter of the OAS on Th I realized that I had not completed charting A F Hunter's noted trail on my map. In order to facilitate this job with the greatest degree of accuracy available to me I decided to take my Garmin GPS out for a drive and plot what I could of what should remain of an old Indian trail that was reported to have run below the ridge on which our potential village may have been.
Opening up Google Earth I note a distinct past running along the route where the trail should have been. I took the coordinates for where this path crossed the road nearest our proposed site, entered them into my GPS unit and went for a drive back to the Silver Creek cluster area. Heading up the Telford line from Division street I looked eagerly for the signs of an old trail crossing on either side of the road and when I reached the coordinates set in my GPS I found what I had clearly seen on Google Earth, a natural gas pipeline cut right along the path  of what should have been the trail. I pulled out my topo map (Orillia 31 D/11) and looked for what I had been sure was the marking of a trail only to see (after closer inspection of the legend) that this was indeed marked as a gas pipeline.
Disappointed, yes, surprised, no. When one goes about the countryside looking for remnants of our early past we all to often find that the high sandy plateau where we think a village may have been is now a gravel pit mined for its resources or a large estate home taking advantage of a view. In this case we find a gas pipeline taking advantage of a narrow flat level ridge that was of at one time, for the same reasons the best place to forge a trail that ran from place to place and in this case perhaps from Cahiague to the Narrows.
Other than the obvious question of our failure to protect what might be considered by some as our cultural resources what can we gain from unfortunate circumstance. Did the contractors for this pipeline do an archaeological assessment prior to ripping out parts of this trail? Were they required to? If they did, is that report on file somewhere? If it is then perhaps some artifacts were recover and some studies done that may in fact assist us in identifying the nature of the village that this old now lost forever trail may have lead to. I have my doubts, but maybe.

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