A popular urban provincial park is getting more money from the provincial government, to help preserve Fish Creek Provincial Park in Calgary. Over three years, the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society will be getting $750,000 for the preservation efforts.
That’s in addition to the $480,000 over three years promised to the same society in 2020, to deliver a suite of efforts like education, recreation and resource management.
One doesn’t have to go far along Fish Creek to see roaming wildlife, birds of prey on watch above and many busy volunteers doing laps below.
“I have a lot of stuff,” said Linda Gale unloading a car full of groceries at the visitor centre Monday morning. Gale is one of about 250 volunteers with the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society, not only helping deliver donations to the nearby Tsuut’ina Nation’s food bank, but also with tours, programs and steady maintenance.
“If they need anything we just come and help them anytime we can.”
And while $750,000 over three years from the provincial government was welcome news Monday, at over 13 square kilometres, there’s a lot of ground to cover.
“What we also want to make sure is that when we get people here and they come to Fish Creek, they have things to do and not just wander around,” said Todd Loewen, Minister of Forestry Parks and Tourism.
The province suggests visitation to the park is over two million people every year. That’s about 20 per cent of the total visits to any of Alberta’s provincial parks.
All that foot traffic also comes with challenges. The society suggests dealing with erosion and other environmental protections, including through more educational programming, will be near the top of the priority list for the new funds.
They will also attempt to deal with challenges related to invasive species.
“The agronomic grasses that have been brought into the park don’t really support regeneration of poplars,” said executive director, Nic Blanchet. “In addition, poplars are very sensitive to the kind of flooding they get, they need gentle flooding, and all we get is the occasional massive flood.”