Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Burnt Fork Creek beginnings

Burnt Fork Creek flows from near downtown Tucker to Mason Mill Park, where it flows into South Peachtree Creek. This is a picture taken in the park, only a short distance from the mouth of the creek.

Where does this creek come from? How does it begin?

On first glance, Burnt Fork Creek begins at the western edge of Brockett Road in Tucker, just south of the intersection with LaVista. I believe that LaVista Road in this area is roughly but not exactly built on top of the divide between the watersheds of North and South Peachtree Creek. This is also only slightly to the west of the "Eastern Continental Divide" which (again, roughly) runs up Chamblee-Tucker Road towards Norcross.

KUDRAVIAN ASIDE: The eastern divide cuts through the downtowns of Atlanta, Decatur, Tucker, and Norcross by zig-zagging through the metro area. It separates the drainage basins of the Atlantic ocean proper and the Gulf of Mexico. In some parts of metro Atlanta including possibly where I live, tap water comes from the Chattahoochee (which flows to the Gulf) but sewage is pumped over the divide and goes into the South River (which flows to the Atlantic).

Back to Burnt Fork. The creek emerges from a culvert at the edge of Brockett Road. On the other side of the road, is a parking lot and some buildings, so the creek appears to just come out of nowhere.

The vines growing in the picture looked like poison ivy at the time so I was kind of scared of them, but after some searching I believe they were actually just harmless kudzu. (Yes, "harmless kudzu" is supposed to be ironic. Imagine Mr. Burns talking about smoking "harmless tobacco".)

It turns out that creek the "flows" (to the extent that it flows at all, with all the fallen trees and other debris in it) into a culvert on the other side of that parking lot, behind some medical buildings. The creek above the culvert is very much like that below.

This next photo shows the furthest point up the creek where there seems to be any noticeable amount of water. This is located right below the deck behind a medical office facing LaVista Road.

A very narrow streambed can be seen dividing the ivy just east of there. There may have been a tiny amount of water in it. It appears to come out of a small wooded area that occupies the middle of this block bounded by LaVista, Brockett, Fellowship Road, Bancroft Circle, and Adrian streets. We did not explore these woods, as it was almost dark and our presence in the back of these dentist's offices and such was kind of questionable as it was.

There is also a ditch that flows out of a culvert on the south side of LaVista road, across the street from the Tucker Rec Center, and flows south into these woods. This ditch is clearly man-made and not a natural creek (Burnt Fork or any other), but I assume it provides a lot of the creek's water. At the time these pictures were taken, the ditch was completely dry but it obviously carries enough water some times to wash away a sidewalk that had been built over it.

Aside: As tempted as she was to enter that dark portal and explore the storm drains under Tucker, I was too big to fit and wouldn't let her go. I assume one day she'll do that kind of stuff with or without me.