Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lake Tower

The 2nd observation tower was built in spring 2009 at the east end of Maxwell Lake as part of the 3rd and final constuction phase of the Beaver Boardwalk. This lake tower has two stories, with a separate section of boardwalk accessing the ground floor and an elevated ramp to the upper floor. The ramp ended up being considerably longer than planned to keep it on Town of Hinton property and still support wheelchair access. An unintended benefit turned out to be the birding in the willow canopy along the ramp. There were great views of many small birds such as this family of yellow warblers (photograph by Paul Higgins) that are often very difficult to see in the dense shrubbery.

So why two levels? Like the pond tower, the upper floor on the lake tower is for nature observation. The ground floor (actually it's the water level floor) is also for use by skaters in the winter. Skaters will have a place to sit and put on their skates or get out of the wind, and somewhere to stash their gear.

A few people have asked me why you can't get from the upper floor to the lower floor without going the long way around. I did think about putting in stairs (and I had a dream about a fireman's pole, which would have been fun!) but I abandoned those ideas pretty quickly. I couldn't see any way to connect the two floors without creating a safety issue. Wood stairs in the winter covered in snow aren't my idea of a safe undertaking. Take the time to visit each level - you won't be disappointed.

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