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Sandbanks Provincial park is located on the shores of Lake Ontario but also abuts West Lake, a small body of water on the shores of the Dunes system in the park. This Dune system is the world's largest baymouth barrier dune formation, and as such a sensitive habitat. Over the last few years the area has seen increased flooding due to elevated water levels on lake Ontario, and what was once a dry land dune tree became an island unto itself. After the flooding, this Eastern Cottonwood was affectionately referred to Ontario's Wanaka Tree, after the famous Willow tree in the waters of Lake Wanaka in New Zealand. Unfortunately, two growing seasons of being within the lake, coupled with a winter with an above normal level of shore ice, took it's toll on the tree and it succumbed to it's harsh environment. Although this photograph appears beautiful, it is also frightening because it shows a unique habitat being threatened by climate change. I have walked by this tree countless times in my life but this day was one of the last times. The beautiful dawn light was just beginning, so I stripped off my boots, waded into the water and handheld this composition just as the sun appeared under the arch of the tree. Farewell my friend.
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