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Public input sought for upgrades to Calgary’s Fish Creek Park

Protection of the area’s ecology and the river quality in the area, should be priority number one, said a Calgary group dedicated to the protection of Fish Creek Park.

The Alberta government announced Monday that it’s opened a public portal to gather feedback on the Fish Creek Provincial Park Pathway system in order to help finalize the parks trail master plan.

First opened in 1975, the park has more than 100 kilometers of paths for walking, jogging and cycling. It also has and more than 100 single-track trails. With more than 1,300 hectares of space, it’s one of the largest urban protected areas in Canada.

The portal was opened so that Albertans could get their opinion on what they believe needs to be done to improve the pathway system in the Park. Minister of Environment and parks Jason Nixon states the importance of the Survey.

“We want to hear directly from users on how to improve the park’s trail system so generations of Calgarians and Albertans continue to enjoy exploring this extraordinary urban provincial park on its extensive network of paths,” said Environment and Parks Minister, Jason Nixon.

Community driven improvement

Nic Blanchet, executive director with Friends of Fish Creek Park believes with the potential of increased foot traffic in the area there could be changes made to the park’s pathways to better accommodate guests.

“Some pathways, when we have different types of traffic moving at different speeds, have suggested that perhaps there should be a better way of managing this. These are all things that will be fed into this process to see what kind of solutions that we can come up with,” Blanchet said.

Blanchet said a September 2020 grant they received from the Alberta government will allow them to see what else could be done to enhance the park experience.

“The grant would allow us to see what we could achieve with more staff or more resources. From that we could do a cost-benefit analysis. It would also allow us to work with other community groups to attack some of the key issues in the park-like the invasive species as well as habitat management.”

Blanchet maintained that above all however the most important thing to maintain regardless of changes to the pathways is the maintaining of the park’s ecological space.

“The issue that most users are united on is caring for the ecological resources of the park. Keeping the ecology healthy and the creek healthy,” Blanchet said.

Blanchet said the input from this online survey will give park managers a better idea of what can be done to enhance the Fish Creek experience.

“A lot of the best ideas have come from the community and we are looking forward to what they have to say,” Blanchet said.  

In September 2020, the Alberta government announced the $480,000 grant to the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society that will allow them to expand on their conservation work. It allowed upgrades to their education system and visitor information system.

“It’s not just the government that looks after Alberta’s beautiful parks. Non Profit societies such as friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park are key partners that help protect and maintain our provincial parks and public lands. That’s why we have made a promise to work with them,” said Nixon.