by Anne Burke
During a Parks and Recreation Study, an interim report in May 1968 set aside City-owned land designated as Public Land for Park Purposes on Nose Hill. It was “not likely” to be the total extent of the Park. The agreement anticipated major roadways and City waterworks. City Council proposed Nose Hill, Bowness Flats, Glenmore, and Fish Creek. (Fish Creek is now a provincial park).
When the 1980 Nose Hill Park Master Plan was approved, the City owned about one-half of the proposed park area. By 1990, the remaining lands were assembled. The public preferred natural and cultural resource values. The uniqueness of the park must be preserved and perpetuate the natural character of the landscape. Although public use increased, Nose Hill is managed as a natural area, with compatible, low-impact recreation.
The Responsible Pet Owners Bylaw is under review. The October 2020 – Phase 2 What We Heard Report will be posted on https://engage.calgary.ca/petbylaw, with comments from the public, stakeholders, and City staff. There are phone surveys and focus groups for Bylaw updates to the Council Committee on Community & Protective Services and to City Council by January-March 2021.
Did you know that Canada has 450 bird species? Yet, grassland birds, aerial insectivores, and shorebirds have all experienced alarming population declines—and many more remain at-risk. We can create bird-friendly cities and reduce bird mortality rates in urban centres. National Wildlife Areas or Migratory Bird Sanctuaries may help Canada meet its protected area targets.
We should have international relationships and set higher standards for protecting the connective habitat on which migratory birds rely. Their diverse habitats have been heavily degraded due to human activity and their populations face rapid decline. More information on Birds Connect Our World at www.naturecanada.ca.
by Anne Burke
Nose Hill Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America and has its unique geological, ecological, and anthropological history. By 1879, the bison herds had vanished. An airport for the air force was on the top of the hill near the current 14th St. lookout point and airport relay tower. This WWI air base was used until the end of WWII. Prior to the 15th Annual Conference of the Blackfoot Confederacy (hosted by the Kainai in Tsuu T’ina) a stone marker was created near an older site of a stone cairn circle. This was a sacred place for ceremonies and vision quests, as well as a lookout for “buffalo, the weather and danger.”
With an abundance of remarkable flora and fauna, there is a new project which aims to record observations made by park users. The Nose Hill park boundaries were entered into iNaturalist.ca from the Open Calgary Parks Data set for a project that automatically summarizes species, locations, and user contributions. If you are visiting the park and see some interesting flora and fauna, please take a photo and add it to iNaturalist.ca (but avoid people and pets). It will also help you with AI: Artificial Intelligence and a community vetting system. See the stats to learn more about what people are finding in the park! To date there have been 1395 observations, 328 species, 278 identifiers, and 166 observers. This is a great way to share valuable information and you will be able to view trends and hot spots of biodiversity in the park. To explore the current map and join the project to keep up with any posts, please visit the project page. https://inaturalist.ca/projects/nose-hill-park-bioinventory.
by Anne Burke
Did you know there is a Birding Code of Ethics? Respect and promote birds and their environment, the birding community, and its individual members, the law, and the rights of others.
This spring we enjoyed the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and four special days to document everything wild and beautiful. One of the goals was to identify flora (plants) and fauna (animals). The organizer did not plan any public events in Citizen Science Month, but there were still safe, local activities to promote science about urban biodiversity.
We have results from the Calgary City Nature Challenge 2020 (plus Airdrie, Cochrane, Chestemere, and Okotoks). More than 755 species were documented with photos and audio clips. Not too surprisingly, the prairie crocus was most often sighted. The dark-throated shooting star was spotted on Nose Hill.
This was only our second year and we have passed 30,000 iNaturalist.ca observations. Of the Canadian cities, Halifax and Ottawa-Gatineau were top contenders, but YYC had the most observations, species, and observers.
In all, there were 244 urban areas, the project page rates them, and Calgary ranked in the top 50. http://citynaturechallenge.org/collective-results-2020/.
Nature Calgary, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and the Canadian Wildlife Federation are other organizations which support local citizen science and conservation. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, California Academy of Science, and iNaturalist lead this global event.
Remember, parks are for everyone’s enjoyment. Use only the designated pathways and trails. Please take pictures, not plants or animals. Respect wildlife and keep your distance. Pack out what you pack in. Keep dogs on a leash and pick up after them. Respect the tranquility of other visitors. Wise words. For more information go to www.citynatureyyc.ca.
by Anne Burke
The City maintains 984 kms of regional pathways and 96 kms of trails. In the late 1960s, Calgarians thought of a system of connected pathways to enjoy the visual amenities and access areas of unique natural beauty. The first completed section of a pathway was in the early 1970s. Nose Hill Park has both pathways (to protect the vegetation) and trails. Please use both wisely.
- A regional pathway is part of the city-wide network and is usually paved with asphalt.
- A local pathway provides routes in communities, linking residential areas to neighbourhood parks, schools and other community destinations.
- Trails are unpaved paths usually made of grainy or compacted dirt.
Work on pathways deals with missing links, lifecycle repairs, and safety improvements. The City will update existing (and build new) pathways and bikeways. Pathways are off-street and bikeways are on-street. The 2001 Calgary Pathway and Bikeway Plan is being updated, since many proposals in the original plan were built, while others are obsolete, due to changes in roads and development. The needs of users and City policies have changed over time. The aims are to separate people by speed, improve visibility; make routes more reliable, easier to use, and accessible.
The vision is to help us walk, run, ride, and use mobility devices, whether for social, recreational or commercial activities, to connect with public transit and parking. City Council approved guiding principles for the “5A” network for walking and wheeling infrastructure. For now, City staff will work with approved capital budgets. Future capital investment and more budget requests will be needed to build out the network over time.
For Next Steps go to: https://engage.calgary.ca/pathwaybikeway.