Calgary Bowmont Natural Environment Park
Natural Environment Park
"River valleys are dynamic. Living
systems. They are compromised of flowing waters, springs, wetlands,
riverbanks, ravines, escarpments, terraces, and forested slopes. They change
yearly with the seasons and over decades and centuries as bank erosion,
flooding and channel realignment alter their courses.
…As cities like Calgary have matured,
the river valleys around which they have grown increasingly become
sanctuaries from the stresses of daily life, aesthetic resources and areas
for recreation." (Urban Park Master Plan, 1994).
Bowmont Natural Environment Park
Bowmont Natural Environment Park
"River valleys are
dynamic. Living systems. They are compromised of flowing waters, springs,
wetlands, riverbanks, ravines, escarpments, terraces, and forested slopes.
They change yearly with the seasons and over decades and centuries as bank
erosion, flooding and channel realignment alter their courses.
…As cities like Calgary
have matured, the river valleys around which they have grown increasingly
become sanctuaries from the stresses of daily life, aesthetic resources and
areas for recreation." (Urban Park Master Plan, 1994).
Bowmont Natural Environment Park is a ribbon of land that stretches for 4 km (2.5 miles) from east to west along the north side of the Bow River between 52nd Street/Home Road N.W. and 85th Street N.W. Being part of Calgary’s river valley park system, Bowmont Park forms an essential link between Shouldice and Bowness Parks. Communities bordering this park are from east to west: Montgomery, Varsity, and Silver Springs on the north bank, and Bowness on the south bank of the river.
Parking is available on the east side off 52nd Street N.W. and on the west side at 85th N.W. Street. Street parking is possible along 40th Avenue N.W. west of 53rd Street. A gravel parking lot is located off the south end of Silver Springs Boulevard N.W.
Archaeologists have identified numerous sites including tipi rings, campsites and tools
on the gravel terraces of the Bow River, where they believe early people have camped after the last ice age 14 000 years ago.
Between the grasslands and the riverine
forests one can find the scrub communities. Wild rose and silver berry can be
found in the drier areas, while the more moist areas contain buffalo berry,
Saskatoon berry, choke cherry, and red osier dogwood. Many birds call these
shrub lands their home, such as the American robin, cedar waxwing, eastern
kingbird, and brown thrasher.
Aspen groves are found in small-scattered
areas on the slopes and gravel terraces. Plants and animals found here are
similar to those in the shrub communities. In early summer, some woodlands are
abundant with the star-flowered false Solomon’s seal.
The fertile soil of the flood plains allows
balsam poplar and black birch to grow. The scrubs previously listed thrive here
as well below the canopy of these tall trees. Among the birds that nest here are
the yellow warbler, the northern oriole, the red-tailed hawk and American
These habitats are prevalent in the
Waterfall Valley and along the Bow River, where the fragile fern, the bog
violet, and in sheltered areas the wild mint and elephant head can be found.
Bowmont Park supports a large variety of
mammals including coyote, mule deer, weasel, beaver, muskrat, and bats.
Code of ethics for park
Bowmont Park is a multi-use area. A paved
pathway that is part of City’s greater River Valley Pathway runs through the
full length of the park. Other maintained trails are found in the Waterfall
Valley. In addition, a number of so-called undesignated trails have developed
over the years that are used by horseback riders, pedestrians and cyclists
alike. Some dangers may arise when different users share the same pathways.
However, awareness of different usage will help reduce conflicts and
Use common sense:
In general, trail users protocols call for
the most mobile to yield the right of way to less fast moving trail users, thus
bikers yield to pedestrians. However, it makes sense to assess the situation
before deciding who can get out of the way more easily. Sometimes it is easier
for a pedestrian to step aside to let a cyclist pass rather than the cyclist
avoiding the pedestrian adding to trail braiding and erosion.
Let other trail users know that you are on
the path and that you would like to pass. A cyclist about to pass a pedestrian
from behind should realize that the latter likely did not hear him or her
approaching. Call or ring your bell well in advance to warn the slower moving
trail user that you intend to pass, and slow down while passing.
Communicate on the trails:
A friendly word lets others know of your
presence. Communicate to slower moving trail users how many there are in your
party so they can prepare to let you and your companions pass. Tell others on
the trail if you have seen any wild life so that they can prepare themselves
(e.g. call the dog back and put him on the leash).
To preserve its natural beauty, please
respect the park by leaving its habitat undisturbed.
Pack out all garbage
Please, use the many trashcans provided
throughout the park.
Open fires destroy the habitat of the more
than 500 plants and animal species that make the park so unique.
Removal of habitat
Do not remove any deadfall, plant material,
snags, rocks, or soil. Deadfall provides nesting sides, habitat, and/or food to
numerous birds, insects, and small mammals. It also provides the soil with
nutrients while decaying, thus feeding the surviving plants and shrubs and
trees. Disturbing their habitat will result in loss of the great variety of
animal and plant life we enjoy in the park today.
Prevent the spread of noxious weeds
Noxious weeds such as Canada thistle thrive
in disturbed areas, choking out native plants. Staying on the trail while
walking or cycling helps to prevent this prickly problem from spreading.
Stop soil from sliding down steep, slippery
slopes. Use caution on trails during wet or extreme dry conditions to prevent
further degradation from soil erosion. Prevent the occurrence of trail braiding
by staying on the trail.
Most of Bowmont Park is designated as
on-leash according to City of Calgary Bylaws. The 2 legal off leash areas are
accessible from Home Road at 52 St. NW, extending to the west end of the
Klippert Gravel Pit and from the south end of SilverSprings Gate NW at
SilverView Dr and SilverView Way NW. The two playgrounds in the Park are
designated "no dogs". The rest of the Park is defined as on-leash. The
possibility of increasing the off-leash areas is being examined as part of the
creation of the Bowmont Park Natural Area Management Plan, which is currently
under way (February, 2001). It is hoped the plan will be adopted by City Council
in late spring, 2001.
Removal of dog defecation
According to City by-law 23M89, dog owners
are obliged to pick up after their dog. Unfortunately, to date not all dog
owners are abiding by this law. Apart from spreading diseases from one dog to
another, not picking up after your dog may become a health hazard to humans as
well, in particular to little children. So please, make an effort to remove your
Susan Hill for use of the pamphlet on
Bowmont Park (1994)
Kees Visser for his contribution to the
geology chapter of this website
Trail User’s Code of Ethics, published by
the Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C.
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT PARK COMMITTEE
To protect, preserve and enhance Bowmont
Natural Environment Park as a natural area.
supporting efforts to maintain access to designated trail networks while
protecting and enhancing natural environments;
fostering the highest environmental standards of practice on private and public
Continue to pursue acquisition of the Klippert property by the City of Calgary.
Consult the City on the best option for use of this private property. Assist the
city in establishing partnerships and other strategies in order to implement the
preferred option. (Ref. Goal 3)
Monitor seasonal use by human and wildlife populations at key locations. Various
stakeholders will be invited to assist in these surveys. (Ref. Goal 2)
Continue to encourage the activities of the Education and Public Relations
sub-committee, with a focus on youth.
Prepare to respond to:
4.3 the undesignated trails project.
5. Develop a strategy with the City to
incorporate the Fournier property into the Park
6. Formalize representation from
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
The Bowmont Natural
Environment Park Committee was reactivated in the spring of 1998, mainly to
respond to the City of Calgary's intent to address the use of undesignated
trails in Bowmont Park. Previously the committee had been active in responding
to the City of Calgary's Go Plan, to several concerns with respect to one of the
private properties surrounded by the park, namely Al Klippert Ltd. and to
maintenance, conservation, education and safety concerns within the park.
Throughout the fall of 1998, the committee worked on revising its vision
statement and developing goals and objectives. The Vision statement of the
"To protect, preserve
and enhance Bowmont Natural Environment Park as a natural area". Since its
reactivation, the committee has been working actively to oblige that vision.
In the last 18 months,
Bowmont Park has been faced with many issues. Rather than respond to them from
only a Varsity Community Association perspective, the committee felt it could be
more effective if it represented the opinions of all of the communities adjacent
to the park. To date, we have official committee members from both Montgomery
and Silver Springs Community Associations, and are hoping to soon have official
representation from Bowness Community Association as well.
At the moment we are
actively working with City Parks and Recreation to develop a revised Management
Plan for Bowmont Park. The intention of the Plan is to set priorities for needed
improvements in the Park, and to address issues to stabilize and enhance the
Park over the next 20 to 25 years. In the past year we have also provided input
into the new City of Calgary Bikeways and Pathways Plan; prepared to respond to
the amendment to the operating approval of Al Klippert Ltd., required by Alberta
Environment; responded negatively to inquiries by a developer to change the
gravel pit into a golf course; been active in pursuing site clean up of the
gravel pit and supported the Fournier family in the City's acquisition of their
property within the Park.
Two of our members have led
numerous Nature Walks through the Park in conjunction with the Calgary Field
If you are a Park user and
have an interest in the well being of the Park, new participants and new ideas
are always welcome.
For more information and/or comments the
Park itself or the Committee, please
e-mail us at email@example.com,
Ken Cooksley @ 288-7668
or contact your community association:
Silver Springs Community Association:
Varsity Community Association:
telephone: 288-9001 fax: 247-3100
Montgomery Community Association:
Bowness Community Association: telephone:
288-8300 Fax: 288-8307