With over 1,300 hectares of space and over a million visitors each year, Fish Creek Provincial Park is undoubtedly one of Calgary’s greatest outdoor gems.
It also happens to be one of the largest protected urban areas in North America.
The park is a popular destination for walkers, runners, cyclists and birdwatchers, and the increase in visitation over the years means that trail improvements are now required.
On Monday, the Alberta government announced that later this summer, it will be releasing the final version of its Fish Creek Provincial Park Trails Master Plan. The plan aims to make improvements to the more than 100 kilometres of paved and natural landscaped trails without impacting the park’s natural habitat, wildlife, and historical and cultural features.
The province is also looking to collect public feedback that will be used in creating the final version.
In a press release, Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon said that by hearing directly from park users, “generations of Calgarians and Albertans” can continue to enjoy and explore the vast network of paths.
Some of the improvements under consideration include a realignment and additional zoning of existing paths to create a single-track experience for anyone from mountain bikers to dogwalkers.
“Ultimately, we’re refreshing that trails network so that people can have a quality, outdoor enjoyable experience,” said Duane Fizor, team lead for trails and wayfinding at Alberta Parks.
Several community organizations and stakeholders were also consulted in creating the draft plan.
Friends of Fish Creek executive director Nic Blanchet said the improvements are overdue, and he’s excited to find out what the public has to say.
“One of the joys of being able to work with and alongside the community and the park is the fabulous ideas that come from the community,” said Blanchet.
Blanchet said he expects some of the feedback to be predictable, but he’s focused on outside-the-box ideas.
“What I’m looking for is what falls kind of in the cracks because that’s where the magic happens.”
Albertans have until June 14 to share their opinions through an online survey.