Saturday, January 12, 2008

Last visit to Wilmington


These Canada geese are year round natives and are now breeding here in larger numbers. The mute swans are introduced and are now a breeding population, pretty birds but very destructive of marsh.

Since my friends are moving to another city my visit last week was most likely my last. I enjoy visiting there, but not enough to go just go there. And like so much of any of the area in coastal NC, the past 20 years with the out of control development has made it much less pleasant a place to be. Even the neighborhood walk that we take from my friend’s house has changed in the past year. Lots more people seem to feel that a huge concrete paved driveway is something they must have. Does not sound too alarming, but multiply that by thousands and the fact that the run off from a paved driveway is much worse for the surrounding waters than woodland or marsh and people should not be surprised that the water quality suffers. A sand, brick, pebble or oyster shell driveway, almost anything except asphalt or concrete allows the rainwater to be absorbed. Even an oyster shell driveway like ours is endangered, water quality is too dirty for oysters anymore and the few that are harvested in NC do not generate oyster shells because the state is encouraging and in some cases requiring the shells to be put back in the water so that the spats will have something to anchor too. A good idea even if the water quality is not good enough to harvest oysters for human consumption. Wilmington has a tremendous amount of traffic compared to when I first began visiting there and the planning and construction for the traffic has not kept pace. Of course, this is also a very wealthy demographic, so the usual pattern is one person per SUV, just like the place where I live.
These pictures are from Arlie Gardens which I have walked or driven by many times but never entered. This is an old estate that was bought by the local government, and represents the only undeveloped shoreline on Bradley Creek. It was much smaller than I imagined but had some beautiful old oaks and an impressive collection of camellias, some of which I am told are unique hybrids to this park.

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