By: Trevor Bacon On: May 01, 2024 In: General Comments: 0

MAY 2024

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke (Picture by Janice A)

A breeding bird monitoring survey in Nose Hill Park recorded a total of 70 species. Of 44 species tested, 22 were nesting and 22 only visitors. Another 26 were random observations (not part of the survey). Birds flying over and not using the habitat were excluded from analysis.  To assess how populations have changed over time, when a previous study was compared, a few species occurred in one year but not in both.  However, the overall decline was in nesting grassland birds. The recent test recorded all birds observed during the breeding season (early June to early July) for ten minutes between sunrise and 10 a.m.

A total of 23 circular plots surveyed on 8 occasions were recorded with GPS technology and mapped. The habitats described and photographed were mostly tall or low shrub and woodland. The result was the disappearance of 4 (and decline of 3) nesting grassland bird species. Here are some of the causes: human disturbance, loss of native grassland by non-native plants, lack of grazing, climate change; bird species outside Calgary, and off-leash dogs on the escarpment (slopes), especially during the breeding season.  For effective conservation and management strategies, City Parks must continue to monitor breeding birds.

World Migratory Bird Day was created in 1993 and celebrates a migratory bird’s spectacular migration; it is dedicated to raising awareness about the need to conserve migratory birds and their habitat. Aligning with the cyclic nature of bird migration in different hemispheres, it is officially celebrated on the second Saturday of May in Canada and the U.S. so on Saturday, 11 May in 2024. The official theme will focus on the topic of insects and their importance for migratory birds. For more information and resources, visit www.birdday.ca.

APRIL 2024

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke (Picture by Janice A)

The new City Nature YYC website will be online with information on the 2024 challenge. www. citynatureyyc.ca. The dates for the event are April 26 – April 29. Follow @CityNatureYYC on Instagram. On May 6, local, national, and global results will be announced.

The Nose Hill Check List contains references to reptiles, fungi and lichen, amphibians, insects, shellfish, birds, and mammals. Sightings are in NW Calgary. This website features the chorus frog, the tiger salamander, the terrestrial garter snake, and more. There are 42 birds, among them hawks, blackbirds, sparrows, chickadees, starlings; wrens, geese, eagles, mallards, teals; kestrels, gulls, partridges, grebes, grouse, and vultures. Some other types are the northern flicker, downy woodpecker, and hairy woodpecker. The great horned, long-eared, and short-eared owls all appear in the list.

The May Plant Count is part of the annual May Species Count. The survey runs from May 25 – 31. The focus is on documenting the flowering status of native plant species across Alberta. This project promotes stewardship and appreciation of Alberta’s natural areas. As a citizen scientist, you will collect data to be used for conservation. Here are the basics. Enter the location of your plant. Upload a photo. Enter the date of the observation. Add a report about the flowering stage. Choose the appropriate stage from those listed. There are many I.D. guides and checklists (in print or flipbooks online). Observations can be made manually on a data sheet and then submitted by email or snail mail. You would need to sign up for the mailing list and then receive data sheets and instructions. naturealberta.ca/-may-plant-count If you are submitting observations online you will join the May Plant Count project for the flowering codes to be displayed in the iNaturalist phone app. inaturalist .ca/projects/alberta-may-plant-count

MARCH 2024

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke (Picture by Shawn L)

As many of you are aware, there is an annual global community science competition to document urban diversity in 460 Cities. Find Wildlife. Take a picture or record. Share! Public bio-blitzes are held across Calgary with local stewardship groups. The challenge engages citizen scientists in finding and documenting plants, animals, and other living organisms in urban areas. Since Parks are for everyone, use only designated pathways and trails. Respect wildlife and keep your distance. Use designated garbage bins. Keep dogs leashed and pick up. Respect other visitors.

The 2023 City Nature Challenge involved taking pictures, April 28-May 1, and then identifying them. In all there were over 1.8 million Observations; nearly 58,000 Species, and 66,394 Participants. Urban Bee Flies are important pollinators. One of Calgary’s most observed butterflies, in Spring and Fall, was the Mourning Cloak. Common Greenshield Lichen and Red-stemmed Feather Moss. Water Strider in Bowness Park. Boreal Chorus Frog in a threatened wetland. The Canada Goose in Calgary’s urban ecosystem. Orange-Crowned Warbler in Weaslehead Natural Area. citizenblitz.ca

Yes, the City Nature Challenge will take place again this year. The dates for the event are April 26 – April 29: Taking pictures of wild plants and animals. April 30 – May 5:  Identifying what was found. Canadian and global results will be announced on Monday May 6, 2024. This will be the sixth year for Calgary Region participation and there are awards for the top Cities. It can be any plant, animal, or any other evidence of life found in the City. Take a picture of what you find or record a sound. Be sure to note the location. Share your observations. The set up for the project page, working with the global organizer team for materials, and more can be found at: www.inaturalist.ca/ projects/city-nature-challenge-2024-calgary-metropolitan-region.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke (Picture by Trevor Bacon)

Some features produce a positive response in visitors, as a focus for passive recreation, education, and interpretation; they remain opportunities for interpretation of bedrock themes in the Park. Among the landscape features are large sandstone boulders several metres across. Those in north slope coulees may contain fossil clam shells, as remnants of a wave cut terrace which tumbled onto valley glaciers

The Nose Hill pre-glacial gravels in the eastern portion of the Hill extend throughout the hilltop. In the Burnco gravel pit —and the slopes leading to this area from 19th Street and from Charleswood Drive — several trails and junctions in the south-facing areas are where exposed gravel from Hill use in the 1960s and 70s would have been visible unless remediation was done with nurse and native grasses, after re-rooting foot traffic while the repair was undertaken.

A review of land uses of Nose Hill revealed that areas more severely damaged  by vehicles, horse and cattle grazing, and gravel extraction were slowly regenerating. Although rutted trails remained, some already had grass growing in them due to less traffic. Ravine trails were heavily overgrown by tall grasses, thistles, and nettles, so that people used them less.

Fire fighting, weeding, and controlled burns with vehicles damaged the plateau and slopes above the Porcupine Valley bike path. Widened and two-track trails are from social use; trail braiding on steeper hillsides due to wet, icy, or poor conditions. An on-hill project was raking to prevent new desire lines. Work was needed on the old motocross routes up the bluff south of Porcupine Valley and along the Many Owls Valley road where the trails had been washed out or deeply grooved. Pedestrian use of old vehicle roads slowed regeneration and remediation was warranted.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke (Picture by Elizabeth Blake)

Along the many 1959 vehicle trails, a great deal of severe damage occurred on slope crests and the top of hummocky areas (i.e. a small knoll or mound above ground). Although regeneration was slow, the amount of scarring evident in 1982 photographs was less than in 1969.  Many of the deeply cut and rutted trails were along the 24th Street alignment. There were significant vehicle impacts on the bluffs north and south of Porcupine Valley. The hillside due west of the Berkley Gate parking lot was heavily scarred, as were the ravine slopes and trail up the north face of the bluff that rises from the south side of the Valley. In 1990, Canadian Western Natural Gas was granted a utility metre easement in the Park on the slopes marking the Park’s northern boundary. Adjacent construction projects involved temporary removal of post-and-cable fencing to deposit waste in the MacEwan Glen Ravine.

Between 1982 and 1990, walkers and cyclists expanded the already extensive trail network. In 1993, trail conditions and user data were collected during the period of  20 July to 20 September from the glacial moraine (the plateau and side slopes), ravines (such as Many Owls and Porcupine Valley), and disturbed land. Use of Nose Hill was greater in the afternoon and evenings. A total of 631 people used pathways versus 200 on trails. More walkers used pathways while those with dogs used ravines. On weekends more users spent time in the ravines. Almost three times as many users were recorded using the Hill plateau and side slopes, rather than ravines, during the week. Survey work was done by pairs of volunteers from Friends of Nose Hill, Nose Hill Communities Board, and the Calgary Field Naturalists Society.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke (Picture by Elizabeth Blake)

Grazers have played an important part in controlling taller, nuisance weeds such as thistle and common nettle. The first recorded land occupancy of Nose Hill was an 88,000-acre lease granted in 1882 and the activity continued in some form until 1989. By 1910, the City’s expanded boundaries extended as far north as 48th Avenue. Residential development rapidly occurred north of 16th Avenue after the war. From 1945 to 1959 it began to approach Nose Hill. By 1959, development was as far north as Capri Avenue and east of 14th Street as far north as 56th Avenue. When Nose Hill was still privately-held land, more people were cutting fences and trespassing north of John Laurie Boulevard.

Aerial photos reveal various human uses and their effects on Hill activities. There were many old 1959 vehicle trails, with severe damage on slope crests and the top of hummocky areas. Although cultivation of Nose Hill was suspended in 1979, other uses led to an extensive trail network in almost all areas of the Hill. A six-foot high mesh fence was built along part of 14th Street and John Laurie Boulevard in the 1970s. There were vehicle impacts north and south of Porcupine Valley. The heavily scarred hillside due west of Berkley Gate parking lot was a challenge from dirt bikers and trucks, as were the ravine slopes and trails up the north face of the bluff that rises from the south side of the Valley. Although regeneration was slow, scarring of the Hill by vehicle traffic was reduced. Much of what is now the south portion of Nose Hill Park was owned by the City in 1982, when AGT developed a three-mile utility easement in the Park for a conduit and cable between MacEwan Glen and the new Edgemont development.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

There was a land use inventory of Nose Hill Park conducted  in 1993. This study reported on archaeological resources on Nose Hill from Alberta’s original inhabitants and their land. For the Blackfoot, their culture and homeland have existed for as long as 6,500 years or more. This was their place for more than 350 generations. There are clues about their way of life from remains of the prehistoric past, such as tools, 10 campsites, a kill site, and a “cairn” or stone pile. Pre-contact cairns were used as small game traps, navigation markers, flagging for drive lanes, and burials.

Nose Hill has 18 known sites which contain stone circles from tipi lodges and cooking circles or a central hearth. Fire-broken or cracked rock is a by-product of stone-pit boiling. The tipi cover and liner were held down by rocks from the tipi circle. The distribution and weights along the circle are a means of determining the season of use. It is presumed to be a shorter period based on the Nose Hill uplands, where tipi lodges are back from the escarpment edges or in depressed areas, so they were probably meat camps or transitory travel camps. People likely lived there in the early spring for the hunting of individual bison. There are more than 90 rings. The size of the lodge group can be estimated by the size of the ring. Given the number of skins and poles for a tipi, we learn about a group’s transportation method. The number and distribution of the rings within a group reveal the size of a larger social group. Isolated rings, even when found in groups, may be vision quest sites. Read more UNCOVERING HUMAN HISTORY: Archaeology and Calgary Parks at: calgary.ca/parks/ history.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Exploring Nose Hill: a hands-on field guide by Jill Kirker and Diana Kary  was published by Grassroots NW: Environmental Awareness Society; it offers an introduction: Why study Nose Hill Park? and “how to” use this guide. There are maps of tours such as the NW Interpretive one and those of Meadowlark Prairie, Many Owls Valley, Wintering Hill, (Buffalo) Rubbing Stone Hill, and Porcupine Valley. After Nose Hill geology and an erratic boulder as part of a glacial Lake, there is more about Nose Hill human history. Check out: tepee rings, native stories, the Blackfoot Nation, exploration and settlement. Six habitats are fescue grasslands, previously cultivated land, shrubs, aspen groves, gravel, and wetlands. Suggested activities are for biodiversity, prairie field study, a mural of the prairie community; a grasslands species and food web, or hands-on weed control. With so many animal types there are also activities related to grouse, raptors, bird migration, ants; grasshoppers, gophers, ground squirrels, and mule deer on the Island Game. Learn more about the food chain, ecosystem, and sampling life in the Pond-area wetlands. Study can lead to other native grass areas of Calgary and designing wildlife corridors.  A world-wide issue is endangered species and grasslands.

Phase 2 Engagement begins in October about Calgary’s 20-year plan for how we develop, redevelop, and manage parks. Fall 2023 feedback will be on public park policies. Input is also needed from Businesses, Agencies and Organizations. A What We Heard Report from Phase 2 will be published in Winter 2023. Phase 3 Engagement will inform a draft plan. By Spring 2024, the Connect: Calgary’s Parks Plan will be final and then presented to City Council in Summer 2024. Have your say at: https:// engage. calgary.ca /parks plan.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

What happened 50 years ago to preserve Nose Hill? Calgary Council of Women wanted a legacy. In 1973, the City created the Park after a lengthy debate. Council rejected a development application when Communities favoured a major natural environment park. “Citizens for Nose Hill” presented a “Citizens’ Brief”. Then a steering committee produced the  “Nose Hill Design Brief”. A rezoning challenge was only one of the obstacles, because much of the land was privately owned. It was urgent to preserve it because some was already sold to developers, with a parcel to a homebuilder. Community leaders and concerned citizens collected over 5,000 signatures on a petition opposing the rezoning. They organized a march along John Laurie Boulevard in defence of Nose Hill. There was even a children’s petition and their voices were heard. City Council voted against any rezoning.  However, the City still needed more time to buy up the land. The Supreme Court of Canada gave Calgary the right to purchase land on Nose Hill at its own pace. The Provincial government agreed and declared that the “Nose Hill lands” be retained as a public open space in perpetuity.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

The Open Space Plan says that our City’s greatest asset is the natural environment and wildlife, so we should foster stewardship with nature education programs. Calgary Parks are linked by pathways and green belts. We must protect and conserve the river valley system, unique prairie, urban forest and foothill ecosystems.

The Plan conforms with Provincial Land Use Policies and the Municipal Government Act. There are some general principles. We will preserve Natural Environment Parks and Environmentally Significant Areas, enhanced by restoration to prevent loss. Site-specific plans recommend we record biophysical inventories and historical resources, for cultural landscapes such as Nose Hill.

The Open Space Plan is under review. One of the aims is learning how to improve Natural Environment Parks through decision-making that puts the environment first. Natural habitats offer places for wildlife food, water, cover, and to raise their young. We can reconnect, rest, and mentally recharge. Nose Hill offers sacred indigenous spaces of culture—past, present, and future.

“Connect: Calgary’s Parks Plan”, Phase 1 engagement ran 17 April – 19 May. A “What We Heard Report” will be published online this summer. Phase 2 starts in October 2023.

JULY 2023

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

A guided plant and herb walk on Nose Hill taught local landscape and ecology (about living things and habitat). The group identified plants, whether edible or poisonous ones, as well as invasive plants (weeds) and native species. There is much interest in traditional medicine and modern uses. Agrology deals with the natural, economic, and social sciences related to environmental protection. The walk leader, as a member of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists, has studied the application of science to agriculture. It is important to understand that Calgary’s Parks & Pathways Bylaw prohibits foraging as part of these events.

Here are the results for City Nature Challenge 2023! Across Canada, 43 cities were in this year’s challenge. Calgary was 1st with 9185 observers who reported 775 species; then came 4th for 347 observations. Globally, there were 482 cities, with 66,394 participants who reported 57, 227 species, including 2570 rare, endangered or threatened ones.

Light pollution remains a threat to migrating birds. To raise awareness, in Canada, World Migratory Bird Day was on the second Saturday in May and, in South America, will be on the second Saturday in October.

JUNE 2023

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Spring brought renewal and awakening of Mother Earth in April. There was a 3-hour interpretive walk to connect with cultural landscapes through the ages in Nose Hill Park where you can be closer to the stars. The group at the John Laurie Blvd. parking lot began the 2.2 kms. route on pathway and gravel trail. The leaders were: Crystal Many Fingers, a Blackfoot member of the Kainai First Nation of Treaty 7, and Laureen Bryant, a professional archaeologist who focused on human occupation. Legends and sharing stories are an integral part of an oral culture. The importance of Nose Hill to pre-contact indigenous people is highlighted by sites such as the buffalo rubbing stone for ceremonies, vision questing, and fasting.

A natural area is a City-owned park with a natural/native plant community. The primary role is to preserve the natural significance. Conservation protects these (relatively) undisturbed parcels of land. Damage can be repaired while loss could be restored. Public engagement and feedback from tourists will contribute to Calgary’s 20-year Park Plan. After a draft proposal, there comes a final version by spring 2024, before presentation to City Council – engage.calgary.ca/parksplan.

MAY 2023

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

The annual May Plant Count is an event when volunteers survey their favourite natural areas to collect data on the distribution and blooming of flowering plants in Alberta. Collection of plant specimens is not allowed in any protected or restricted areas, such as Nose Hill Park. The survey, which takes place between May 25—31, encourages stewardship and is based on appreciation of nature. Expertise in identification is valuable, but not mandatory. It is open to anyone with an interest in plants and flowering. As a citizen scientist, your photos submitted during the count period will contribute to the databases. To join the project, go to: inaturalist.ca/ projects/alberta-may-plant-count. In order to submit observations, you will need to log in and create an account (which is free).

The May Plant Count is part of the May Species Count. It began in 1976 to track bird species across Alberta and, in 2011, over 300,000 birds were counted. In 2022, over 400 people participated in the bird count. To learn more about how to download your results onto the eBird app and to contact your local organizer, go to naturealberta.ca/may-species-count.

APRIL 2023

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

There is an annual global community science competition to document urban diversity. Public bio-blitzes will be held across Calgary with local stewardship groups. The challenge engages citizen scientists in finding and documenting plants, animals, and other living organism in urban areas. The 2023 City Nature Challenge involves taking pictures April 28-May 1 and then identifying them. Results will be announced on May 8. This will be the fifth year for Calgary Region participation and there are awards for the top Cities. For more information just go to www.inaturalist.ca/projects/city-nature-challenge-2023-calgary-metropolitan-region

Although the City introduced two new program, Green Leader and and Water Steward, its decision to temporarily discontinue its Adopt-a-Park program was unpopular.  Now you can join the Parks Environmental Education team on a Green Initiative project to restore habitat with tree and shrub planting, tree wiring, weed pulling, or painting projects. These group projects are seasonal (May – October) and typically require a 3-4 hour commitment. A screening policy is in place, which may include checks by police.  Once accepted, volunteers receive orientation, training, and other support. For more information and to register, please call 3-1-1.


Calgary’s Pathway and River Cleanup will be on 5 – 7 May 2023. Volunteers will receive safety information and training prior to event day.

During the annual cleanup event, they help remove litter in Calgary’s parks, greenspaces; along pathways and river banks. Registration for returning volunteers is on 15 February – 8 March 2023 and, for new volunteers, on 13 March – 31 March 2023. They may register in groups of at least 10, identifying a leader and a designated cleanup area. Anyone without a group is assigned to a City team at one of 3 designated parks.

Last year, there were 4 areas assigned for cleanup in Nose Hill Park:

  • Nose Hill west – Shaganappi Trail/Edgemont Blvd. parking lot, to head south along pathway beside Shaganappi Trail, stay to right at trail junctions, south to John Laurie/Brisebois Drive parking lot.
  • Nose Hill east – parking lot at 64th Ave. NW and 14 St. NW – to clean trails south to 14th St. NW parking lot.
  • Nose Hill north – Shagapnappi Trail/Edgemont Blvd. parking lot east to 14th St Berkley Gate parking lot (and stay left at paved trail junctions).
  • Nose Hill – 64th Ave. – Nose Hill, 64th Ave. Parking lot.

During the cleanup, volunteers remove the litter in their assigned locations and collect it in bags, which are placed beside pathways or in City garbage bins. City staff pick up and transport them to a designated dump site where they are properly disposed of by City Waste & Recycling Services. If you have any questions about volunteering for the 2023 Pathway and River Cleanup, or garbage bags have not been picked up, please contact 3-1-1. Join the conversation on cleanup day and see photos from the events by searching #yyccleans.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

The Calgary Naturalists’ Club was started in the late 1940s. Its activities included plant, bird and star study groups. After the Calgary Bird Club was formed, the Calgary Naturalists’ Club was discontinued, due to lack of support, since so many of its members had transferred their membership. The Calgary Bird Club evolved and became the Calgary Field Naturalists’ Society, an advocate for the ongoing protection of parks and other natural areas, by letters and through engagement with city officials. www.naturecalgary.com /about/history.

According to the Provincial Archives of Alberta, when the first meeting of the Federation of Alberta Naturalists was held, it was attended by representatives from 6 regional naturalist clubs: the Calgary Field Naturalists’ Society (now known as Nature Calgary), the Edmonton Bird Club, the Edmonton Natural History Club, the Lethbridge Natural History Society, the Alberta Natural History Society (of Red Deer), and the Bow Valley Naturalists. Membership in the Federation has since grown to include over 40 clubs, representing 1000s of individuals.

The Federation (now known as Nature Alberta) was registered under the Societies Act to increase knowledge of natural history and understanding of ecological processes; to promote the exchange of information and views among natural history clubs and societies; to foster and assist in the formation of additional natural history clubs and societies in Alberta. The aims are to promote new natural areas and nature reserves; to conserve and protect species, communities or other features of interest; as well as to organize or coordinate conferences, field meetings, nature camps, research, and other activities. The group offers naturalists a forum in which questions relating to the conservation of the natural environment may be discussed, united positions are developed, and the means of translating these positions into actions. www.naturealberta.ca


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

PROJECT  Since 2016, the City has had great success in using goats to help manage invasive weeds like Canada thistle. A herd of 260 goats grazed in the 40-hectare Rubbing Stone Hill Natural Parkland Zone of Nose Hill for 30 days, beginning when most vegetation was dormant.  The bison normally used this area during the fall and winter so plants were not grazed during the season of active growth. Therefore, the primary influence of grazing would be to remove dead plant material. This will allow for the greatest plant diversity while providing habitat for all wildlife species currently using the Park.

GOAL The primary purpose of the project was to initiate a multi-year grazing program primarily for the protection of natural grassland and shrub-dominated habitat. The area is currently very heavily used. Management priorities are to minimize damage to the natural habitat by rehabilitating trails, controlling weed species, and maintaining natural vegetation. The use of livestock to manage grass and weeds (targeted grazing) is different than traditional grazing for livestock production and had to be exempted from requiring a development permit when done by or for the City, by changes to both the Land Use and Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaws

CONSULTATION & PUBLIC FEEDBACK  During the pilot project, 95% of the 40 service request 311 calls were positive. The City also held open houses inviting stakeholders to provide input: 44 of 57 written comments on urban grazing supported the use of livestock for land management on City-owned land. Some comments gave support conditional on it saving money when compared with the alternatives, such as mechanical (hand pulling) and spraying. Goat grazing is a chemical-free way to control weeds, with project costs close to that of conventional herbicide application.



News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

The Nose Hill Park Household Survey reported that informal recreation and the natural environment should be supported by natural, gravel or asphalt pathways, for use by seniors, bicycles, and mobility-impaired visitors. The Nose Hill Plan asked how to explain park management, public stewardship, natural history, geology and human history related to the Park. Information on habitat is about controlled burns, mowing, restoration, rehabilitation, weed and erosion control, dog use zones, and bike use zones. Natural history of fire and bison grazing and endangered habitats are Fescue Grasslands, Aspen Forests for wildlife breeding and escape areas, Ponds or wetlands. The geology offers sandstone/shale bedrock, gravels deposited by one million-year-old rivers, Glacial Lake Calgary, and beach lines at the SW part of the Hill.  Much to be learned from archaeology. Aboriginal use of Nose Hill was as a quarrying site for making tools; a regional lookout for games, enemies, traders; as campsites with fire-shattered rock, and stone circles.

There could be an interpretive trail with displays at the main entrance points and signs for the glacial erratic and beach line. Trail guides (signs along the trail) or at the main trail heads will require maintenance, servicing, and replacement costs due to vandalism. The Friends of Nose Hill may recruit volunteers to maintain/change the signs on a seasonal basis. Wheelchair accessible signs will be angled to permit reading by walking visitors. However, the visual impact of signs on the nature of open grassland was a concern. Other ideas were hiring a full-time seasonal Park naturalist; information packages for elementary school teachers, containing selected walk themes, a list of materials, and a mini field guide with maps; and brochures at the Park, despite the ongoing expense of pamphlet production and distribution.

Read FONH’s Fall Newsletter Here – fonhs.org/docs/Fall_2022_Newsletter.pdf


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Although bison once thrived on the prairies, their large herds roamed widely and might not return to locations for long periods of time; their grazing patterns were intense but, as the City grew, surprisingly less concentrated than sustained use of the natural area by daily visitors to Nose Hill Park. The principal threat to prairie vegetation is trampling from hikers, mountain bikes, and other users. Although damage may be gradual, once it becomes noticeable it can be irreversible, without active restoration. For example, small footpaths on dirt trails can lead to more heavy use, especially on exposed steep slopes and in seasonally wet areas. Such erosion mars the visual impact and results in weed invasion and loss of habitat.

Trail management can be challenging. There are three main options: managing trails which will protect the natural environment, while providing access opportunities to all users; limiting visitor numbers (which is not appropriate in an urban park); or no management. The last-mentioned will allow trail degradation and habitat loss to continue and even increase. The choice is clear. Trails which have not been upgraded to withstand the desired level of usage should be closed.

The Nose Hill Park Natural Area Management Plan noted that appropriate trail use will depend on an individual’s sense of responsibility, since Calgarians typically demonstrate a high degree of responsible use when they are made aware of the need to do so. The outcome will be positive if information is shared with the average Nose Hill Park user at each of the formal and informal access points to the Park. This will not stop determined irresponsible use. However, it will likely be sufficient to reduce damage to a level which allows the terrain to recover.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

ZONES The Nose Hill Park Natural Area Management Plan provides that mountain and street bikes will be restricted to non-dirt formalized areas on all sloped areas to minimize erosion hazard and disturbance of wildlife in Nose Hill Park. Most of the top of Nose Hill will be a bike zone, with no restrictions on travel. Surprise encounters should be easily avoided since both bikers and hikers will have a longer line of vision. Street bikes will be encouraged not to leave non-dirt formalized trails, to ensure user safety and prevent damage resulting in trail degradation. Bike use will occasionally be restricted on the top of Nose Hill, in areas of restoration or experimentation. The gravel pit will be restriction-free, but damage by mountain bikes should be closely monitored by the Natural Areas Management Coordinator.

EDUCATION AND ENFORCEMENT Bike zones are enforced primarily through signage. Zone signs will be placed at major trailheads into the Park. In keeping with the Master Plan, public education through interpretive materials and presentations are used to emphasize bicycle users’ responsibility to adhere to zoning rules and avoid conflicts with wildlife and other users.

The Nose Hill Trail and Pathway Plan requires all users to stay on designated pathways and trails when outside of the multi-use zone. This approach balances the protection of the natural environment, while providing compatible, quality leisure opportunities. Unrestricted bike use can damage the Park. Both the Urban Conservation and Pathways & Trails teams in Parks are aware of the issues. While bike trails can be a great amenity for one group, the Parks Department does recognize it can lead to conflict with other users and, at times, unfortunately have an adverse impact on the flora (plants) and fauna (wildlife) in the area.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Nose Hill is now an island habitat, surrounded by residential housing with no natural corridors leading in or out. It is also an urban park and must be managed to support high levels of visitor use. It is more difficult to prevent or slow the spread of non-native species (weeds) into and within the Park, as well as to control wildlife diversity.

Native grassland is in various stages of disturbance, recovery, and maturity. Management strategies may be expensive or experimental but ought to be based on the response of vegetation and wildlife overtime. The Natural Area Plan says that Nose Hill should be treated as a prairie reserve, with the remaining portions of native grassland regarded as a living museum of flora (plants) and fauna (animals); as a field laboratory where scientific observations and experiments are done so as not to injure the area.

The goal of Nose Hill Park is to perpetuate the natural character of Nose Hill landscape, its environmental features and cultural resources, while providing compatible, quality recreational opportunities. The management plan will not remain static (the same) but the entire area will be conserved now for future use by all Calgarians

The management objectives are to preserve and enhance by encouraging conservation; providing educational and interpretive opportunities; and accommodating compatible recreational activities. Such contact having limited effect on the natural environment should protect the visual amenities of prairie, its unique features and resource values, as open space.

The Park will continue to be where people can relax; escape from the pressures of city life and commune with nature; pursue outdoor recreation and leisure activities. Any changes should have minimum impact while providing environmental protection and reasonable levels of access and safety for all Calgarians.

JULY 2022

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

On Nose Hill there was a recent Medicine Wheel Walk, with Drum and Sharing Circle, led by Cheryle Chagnon-Greyeyes, who is a proud Nehiyaw Iskwao (Cree Woman). A member of Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan, Treaty Six, her ceremonial gifted Cree name translates to “Healing Woman Who Walks Far”. Mother of two and “Kokum” (grandmother), she is a member of Storytelling Alberta and Storytellers of Canada. She worked with CBC English Radio and Television, the National Film Board of Canada, National Aboriginal Health Organization, Awo Taan Native Women’s Shelter, and the City of Calgary.

The Nose Hill Siksikaitsitapi Medicine Wheel was built by Blood Tribe members in 2015. It forms the Siksikaitsitapi logo, a representation of the Blackfoot Confederacy, and exists on traditional Blackfoot territory. The buffalo rubbing stone on Nose Hill has spiritual significance. A former City Council approved the Native Heritage Site. These are only a few of the sacred places in the Park. Sage is important in all Blackfoot, Stoney, and Cree ceremonies. There are several varieties, such as wormwood sage, buffalo sage for the Blackfoot and horse sage for the Cree. “Look-like-A Plume” (in English) is a wind flower, burned on a hot coal to relieve headaches. Wild bergamot and the root of fireweed are for healing. Many of the herbs in the coulees were for the use of sweat ceremonies, vision questing, and fasting. The purpose of the Sun Dance for the Plains Culture was to reunite and reconnect with the earth and the spirits, which usually involves the community gathering to pray for healing. It was an occasion when otherwise independent bands reaffirmed their basic beliefs about the universe and the supernatural through rituals of personal and community sacrifice.

JUNE 2022

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Calgary Captured is a citywide citizen science program with remote motion-activated cameras to monitor wildlife in city parks. The project documents dogs and off-leash activity across natural environment parks. Although there were off-leash dogs in on-leash zones in all natural areas, Nose Hill was identified as a Park where education or enforcement should be considered.

Based on images of off-leash dogs, 89% of them were in on-leash zones. Although the number of leashed dogs varied, about the same proportion of dogs were leashed in designated off-leash parks as in on-leash parks, suggesting that dog owners behave similarly with respect to dog leashing regardless of leash rules.

The peak of human use in parks was spring-summer, with the highest in June, July, and November. Human and pet use was during the day in all seasons. Wildlife became more active at night when there was greater human use during the day. Some species visit Calgary Parks almost entirely at night time when humans and dogs are not there. Others, such as coyote and less so deer, occupy the same space with human park users during morning and evening. Wildlife overlapped more with humans (without or without dogs) than with off-leash or solo domestic dogs.

Wildlife at Nose Hill appeared to avoid humans, being most active during night hours when human use was lowest. However, there was much lower wildlife activity in winter than in other seasons. Their activity peaked around dusk in summer. Ranging from the highest to the lowest, the images of species in Nose Hill Park were of human, domestic dog, white-tailed deer, human with dog, coyote, deer, mule deer, porcupine, striped skunk, and domestic cat. Wildlife corridors and safe movement near ring roads remain concerns.  www.rockies.ca/files/reports/Calgary

MAY 2022

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, 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, with an abundance of remarkable plants and wildlife. There is a project which aims to record observations made by Park users but please avoid those of humans and pets. inaturalist.org/projects/nose-hill-park-bioinventory

A “BioBlitz” is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. The 2022 City Nature YYC Challenge happens April 29 -May 2, first taking pictures of wild plants and animals, and then May 3 -May 8, identifying what was found. Cities around the world compete to see which can make the most observations, document the most species, and engage the most people. This is the fourth annual effort by Calgary, joined by Edmonton, Lethbridge, and Red Deer/Lacombe County. This event is free and open to all ages. Please use only the designated pathways and trails on Nose Hill and in other public parks. Groups of citizen scientists, naturalists, and volunteers will conduct another intensive field study. Document yours by taking photos and then uploading them to the iNaturalist app or iNaturalist.ca. Check out: www.citynatureyyc.ca for more information.

The Alberta May Plant Count is an annual event sponsored by Nature Alberta volunteers. As count weekend dates vary from year to year, all data collected during the official Count Week (May 23 -31) are valid. Anyone who is interested in? and familiar with? Alberta wildflowers can participate. The object is to record all species of flowering plants and the stage of each in bloom. To sign up and receive the information package, please contact: mayplantcount@outlook.com.

APRIL 2022

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

We read about and see firefighters and grass fire units respond to fires on Nose Hill, especially during dry and windy conditions. The causes may be investigated but the follow-up story of the positive impact on vegetation will not be documented, unless by researchers. Indeed, a burning program for Nose Hill Park should be examined periodically, based on monitoring information and new scientific knowledge. These are only a few of the recommendations from The Nose Hill Park Natural Area Management Plan.

Grassland ecosystems adapted in response to climate and disturbance. Bison helped to remove dead plant material, when their vast herds grazed, primarily during the fall and winter. Cultural burns were sacred Indigenous practices. Fire was a natural process on the prairies that helped shape the evolution of prairie plants and animals. There is a case to be made that it should be reintroduced in a controlled manner, when experts manage the process.

Prescribed burning could be used to manage vegetation on native and non-native grasslands. Smooth brome is the domestic species of most concern in the Park. Another is Canada thistle. Burning should occur every five to ten years on native grassland but may be planned more frequently on brome to control the density of grass cover. Burning will benefit most grassland wildlife species including rare species.

There are protocols or burning prescriptions in Natural Parkland zones, such as when (in the early spring to avoid damage to growing plants and before excessive litter builds up), and how (supervised by the Natural Areas Management Coordinator and the Parks Superintendent). By managing the natural process of fire on the landscape, instead of preventing it, we can improve habitats for native plants and animals and reduce the risk of out-of-control wildfires.

MARCH 2022

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Pat Ryan (1931-2022) served the City of Calgary as an Alderman from 1974-1980. He was elected in 1974 for Ward 1 and re-elected in 1977 for Ward 2. Members of Council and City Administration offered their condolences to the Ryan family. He was integral to securing land for Nose Hill Park because he ensured that the land was secure from developers for future generations of Calgarians to enjoy as a natural environment park within the city limits.

City of Calgary Parks Department Annual Reports list Alderman Ryan as the Chairman of the Parks/Recreation Board. The purpose of these reports was to record the status of achievements of the Department for ready reference in future years. Although needs and conditions might change, the basic concepts would not. One of the aims was to ensure that the environment will be protected, preserved, and enhanced for the enjoyment of all people. Another was to facilitate in any way possible the involvement of volunteers in parks and recreation services. A third was to conserve a system of natural areas throughout the City with special emphasis on those lands associated with rivers and water areas.

A much needed new Planning Section was added as part of the Development Division of the Parks/Recreation Department. Its role included coordinating both long and short range parks/recreation planning and associated policies, which affected planning for the entire City. Two full time staff were employed as Parks Systems Planner and the Planning and Research Assistant, as well as two limited term Planning Assistants. Some of the projects scheduled for 1978 included initiating Master Plans for Nose Hill and Glenmore Parks, as well as development of a policy for environmentally sensitive areas.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Dogs must be on-leash in all public spaces in Calgary unless a sign is posted for an off-leash area. The Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw limits an off-leash dog walker to six dogs.  Natural environment parks, including asphalt pathways, are on-leash, unless otherwise signed. All parking lots are on-leash, including those for designated off-leash areas.

A larger numbers of dogs not being controlled in off-leash parks can lead to safety concerns, such as dogs inadvertently cutting off cyclists or runners, dogs jumping on park patrons, or negative interactions with other dogs and wildlife. There is no limit to the number of dogs that can be walked on-leash but an adequate number of leashes, or other means to restrain all dogs is required in an off-leash park. Any handler must respond to nuisance behaviours, maintain voice and sight command with each dog, and clean up.

Changes to the Bylaw coming into effect by 30 September 2022 will permit qualified professional dog walkers to walk more than six dogs off-leash at a time. (Otherwise, a limit would mean fewer customers, lost income, increased user costs). Applicants with adequate skills and knowledge will be able to continue walking more dogs safely, if they review and comply with the Bylaw, ensuring that each dog is licensed and has good recall.

The City will develop specific criteria by which a Dogwalker Permit would be granted in consultation with business owners through the Business Advisory Committee. Community peace officers will work with dog walkers to achieve bylaw and permit compliance through education rather than to deny or revoke a permit, unless as a last resort. The decision can be challenged through the Licence and Community Standards Appeal Board.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

There are upgrades to the parking lot at 14th Street NW across from North Haven community. A Natural Areas Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Technician at the City, who was a student in agriculture at Olds College and has held various positions, was in charge of the project. The site features 17 parking stalls in the high/top parking area which offers a panoramic view of the City. Check out the plan for parking off the lower access road too, with wider turning angles, as well as the new post and cable fence.

Closed since August 2021, the reopening of the lot was delayed from mid-October to late November. To ensure Nose Hill Park is accessible for everyone to enjoy, improvements were made by work crews to increase parking capacity, by re-grading of the lower access road, with paving of a gravel road, as well as a dirt path, and other amenities. Calgary.ca/Nose-Hill-Park-14-Street-parking-improvements

The City was certified as a Bird Friendly City by Nature Canada and will designate an official bird representative. Bird Friendly Calgary initiated a contest. Treaty 7 First Nations and local environmental groups, such as ours, were asked  to nominate birds species. The deadline for submissions was 6 December. Each nominator could send up to 3 bird species. The 5 to receive the most nominations will make up the short list and Calgarians will vote on them. This will take place in the spring of 2022. The bird species which receives the most votes will then be presented to City Council for official approval. Calgary (like Toronto, Vancouver, and London) holds World Migratory Bird Day events on the 2nd  Saturday in May and in October, has a Bird Team, and does promotion on the Municipal website. naturecanada.ca/news/press-releases/first-canadian-bird-friendly-cities/.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

There was a talk on the native plants of Nose Hill to celebrate the opening of a new mural with a tour of the artwork. The site is a heavily-used pedestrian tunnel near the 64th Ave. NW entrance to Nose Hill Park. The project was limited to the retaining walls at each end of the underpass, which runs under 14th Street, so its interior was not part of the project. The tunnel connects Nose Hill with a series of parks in North Haven and Thorncliffe, as well as to several NW neighbourhoods.

The purpose of the project is to illuminate aspects of Nose Hill’s importance to local Indigenous people and highlight the area’s long history of use. The glacial erratic known as the “Buffalo Rubbing Stone” references the history of the Iinnii (buffalo) on Nose Hill. The artwork, as a landmark for the surrounding communities and visitors to Nose Hill Park, will create more awareness of the important Indigenous history of the site.

Although this was a community-initiated project, the site is owned and managed by the City of  Calgary’s Roads Department, as well as being located adjacent to areas managed by Calgary Parks. Therefore the Public Art was first approved by the Roads Department, the Parks Department, and Calgary Arts Development.

Engagement was an important consideration for this project. Prior to installation, an artist must be available for some form of meaningful
interaction with the public. This could be an introductory meeting with the surrounding community associations, a prepared statement about the work, or other form of engagement.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

There have always been snakes on Nose Hill. A shelter called a “hibernaculum” is occupied during the winter by a dormant animal. Since they are cold blooded, they move to hibernation when it turns chilly.

The Nose Hill Park Bio-Inventory is a project which aims to record observations made by park users. Please avoid observations of humans and pets.  So far, 371 observers have contributed 4,369 observations of 585 species (so far 577 were identified).  Some of the most monitored species have been: the prairie crocus (107), great blanket-flower (92), white-tailed deer (73), sticky purple geranium (70), western stoneseed or lemonweed (64), and false lupine (60). There is a satellite map of sightings, full- colour photos throughout, and the relevant information is kept up to date. Visit: inaturalist.org/projects/nose-hill-park-bioinventory.

In Calgary, there were 267 individuals who shared their viewings on iNaturalist April 30-May 10, 2021. Together over 660 species were reported and many still to be identified at a species level. You could make observations without a photo, but no one can help ID or confirm a finding without a photo. Users all volunteered their time to identify reports. Those which you know are not wild were marked as “captive/cultivated”. Children and their families can engage in nature and share discoveries with the digital community.

With 6,689 observations to date, Calgary holds the Canadian record for the most City Nature Challenge observations ever made during the event! It was not only the best year ever for participation, species, and studies but there was tremendous growth in the distribution of observations across the city. The provincial iNaturalist community continued to grow. Edmonton, Lethbridge, Camrose, and Red Deer participated. Across Alberta, 10,000 observations (925 species by 468 observers) were contributed. Visit citynaturechallenge.org/collective-results-2021.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Under Alberta’s Wildlife Act, species at risk are the most vulnerable of Alberta’s biodiversity and require special attention to maintain and recover population and habitat. Wildlife “eco users” are subject to loss, change, and recreational disturbance. Their low numbers or secretive habits present challenges, especially if they are rare, vulnerable, or endangered. See more at COSEWIC (the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada).

A list of species in Nose Hill Park was based on critical or specific wildlife habitat suitability. The study included a “point” counting of all birds seen or heard during a set period of time. Between sunrise and 8 a.m., there were 23 locations for songbirds, from early June to early July. Whether summer residents or migratory, their breeding behaviours, such as singing, courtship, nest building, and defence, were noted. Identification relied on visual and auditory cues. Ground searches of potential nesting habitat for nearby sharp-tailed grouse were conducted during the summer. In addition, all known nest locations of raptors (hawk, owl, falcon) for 1987 to 1993 were complied, with further field observations.

Fieldwork was done by volunteers. All 48 of the live traps were set up for 10 days, a total of 480 trap-nights per habitat type. The number was calculated for each species of small mammals (mice, voles, and shrews). Such animals were marked, recorded, and released. For pocket gophers/ground squirrels, the area of their mounds and burrows was intensively searched. However, a cost effective method was to select from the wide range of wildlife species known to occur on Nose Hill. For natural area management planning, it was necessary to carefully monitor a smaller group of “indicator” or representative wildlife species, for evaluation purposes.


Here are some guidelines from the Off-leash Area Management Plan 2010.

The City Parks Department, as a steward of public parklands and pathways, is responsible for maintenance and management. This includes agreements with other stakeholders, as appropriate, and developing educational strategies for environmental protection. Natural habitat goals are considered for Natural Areas, in or near Special Protection Natural Environment Parks, Major Natural Environment Parks, and Environmentally Significant Areas. Dogs must be on-leash in parking areas and on pathways. Where necessary, eliminate the impact of dog off-leash use on native plants and wildlife and/or the fragmentation of natural habitats. Where a biophysical evaluation shows that the natural habitats or wildlife are being negatively impacted, implement strategies to protect the natural area (or the Off-Leash Area may be eliminated). These decisions are made at the discretion of the Director of City Parks. There are other duties, such as creating a signage plan to clearly mark boundaries. Posting “entering/leaving off-Leash Area” signs, even back to back where required. “No Dog” signs in playgrounds. “Paved Pathways Are Always On-Leash”. Consulting with Animal and Bylaw Services, if the City or Parks users have identified sites where the ability to enforce bylaws is questionable.

The City’s decision, in 2016, was to cancel the Adopt-a-Park program and replace it with two new programs called Green Leader and Water Steward.

Since this is seasonal (May – October) the Adopt-a-Park program was re-launched, in 2021, helping to take care of parks, green spaces, playgrounds, pathways, trees, and natural areas. Volunteers received orientation, training, and other supports, after possible police information checks.  If working near a pathway, they were told to be careful of cyclists, runners, and walkers, as well as to leave natural materials behind (leaves, deadwood, bones, etc).


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

In the Blackfoot language, Calgary is Moh’kin’stis; in Stoney Nakoda, Wiçispa Oyade; in Tsuut’ina, Gu’tsi’tsi and, in Métis, it is Otoskwunee. The Calgary Environment Strategy (June 2021) acknowledges the traditional lands of the Treaty Seven Nations – the Blackfoot confederacy, (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani North and South), the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations (Bearspaw, Chiniki, Wesley), and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. Nose Hill Park contains significant archaeological sites, including stone circles. These were formed by using stones to hold down the edges of tipis and are called “tipi rings”. Because of its height, the Hill was also a venerated place used for ceremonies and burials.

In 2015, a sacred aboriginal landmark was built in the SE corner of the Park as part of a conference of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Members of the Blood Tribe built a traditional medicine wheel on top as an offering site for visitors. The new circle is next to a semi-buried circle of stones left behind. The wheel is in the shape of the Siksikaitsitapi logo, a circle to represent the tribes of the Blackfoot Confederacy. The closest Park entrance to the site is off 14th Street NW, nearest to downtown.

In 1979, the Native Urban Affairs Committee represented Aboriginal issues and concerns. In 1987, its name was changed to the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee. In June 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released 94 actions for all Canadians. City Council asked the Committee to provide a response which takes into consideration how to respond locally. This resulted in the White Goose Flying Report, a local adaptation of the Commission’s Report; it identified 18 actions that can be influences locally.

JULY 2021

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Nose Hill provides spectacular viewpoints to interpret the geological history of the Bow River valley and its tributaries, as well as the uplands across the valley to the south. There is a glacial erratic in a small coulee. About 45 archaeological sites represent 10,000 years of human occupation. The Park is bounded by present-day Beddington and Nose Creeks. Big Hill Springs Coulee represents what remains of the earlier glacial spillway.

Major and shallow ravines in the Porcupine and Many Owl valleys are at risk because they support a closed canopy of tall willow shrubs, aspen and balsam poplar forests. This is wildlife habitat, like rough fescue grassland.

Observers in a 1993 benchmark study recorded that weekday recreational users were three times as more likely to use the plateau and slopes, while weekend users more often used the ravines. Now only the plateau is off leash and paved pathways are a route to the top.

A total of 151 wildlife species were found, including 127 bird, 22 mammal, and 2 amphibian species. No organized trails near a breeding ground (lek) of the Sharp-tailed Grouse, options for deer movement into Nose Hill, limited human and dog use to protect the mule and white-tailed deer, as well as the American badger. Analysis of trail condition and use was done by 27 volunteers from late July to late September. Trained volunteers collected wildlife field data. A sample of birds was conducted at 23 sites during the breeding period in early June to early July. Small mammal study was completed of mice, voles, and shrews. A review of past and current land uses revealed areas damaged by vehicles, grazing, and gravel extraction but slowly recovering. Since regeneration on its own may take decades, remediation was warranted.

JUNE 2021

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

As I write, the City is reconsidering the proposal to permit open liquor in municipal parks. Alberta began allowing alcohol in day-use picnic areas in select parks across the province. Alcohol could be consumed in these areas along with food. That is what was proposed in Calgary’s original pilot project, in early 2019, but now also involves  consideration of the issues of social disorder, community health, and enforcement.

The North Calgary Water Servicing Project is construction of a new 10 km feeder-main to provide drinking water to new and existing communities. The detailed design stage will be completed in fall 2021. Construction begins in 2022 and ends in late 2025. In late January-early February 2021, the site investigative work of drilling a borehole to identify soil properties in the NE corner of Nose Hill Park (near MacEwan Glen Drive NW) impacted one pathway, so there were appropriate signs and barriers to notify pathways users.

Part of the proposed route crosses under Nose Hill Park (from the SW to the NE) involves tunnelling technology up to 90 metres below the surface. This trenchless method of installing pipe (by two shafts at either side) uses a machine to install the pipe underground and minimizes impact to the natural area of the park. The two shaft locations will be restored to their original state, following construction.

As published in our Spring 2018 newsletter, a City Waterworks Report (12 Feb. 2018) said the detailed design phase began in 2018.  At the time, no further field work was anticipated in the upper plateau of the park, since the geotechnical investigation was done in March 2017. The earliest construction phase was anticipated to be 2020. The date changed, based on budgeting and prioritisation.


MAY 2021

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Connect with The May Count of Plants in Bloom (May 25 – 29) which is an initiative by Nature Alberta annually hosted by the Alberta Native Plant Council to record plants in bloom. You choose a natural area and record the plants you see blooming. It is no problem at all if you find a flower that you don’t recognize. It can be ignored in your count. (Or you can take a photo for later identification). Collection of plant specimens is not allowed in any protected or restricted area, like Nose Hill. Contributors are asked to visit (www.anpc.ab.ca) for guidelines.

This is an example of growing citizen science in the province. The purpose is to provide information on the distribution of flowering plants. However, any species information is valuable to the selected natural area. The project monitors the spread of non-native species and provides insights into the response of plants to variations in climate. Anyone who is familiar with Alberta wildflowers can participate. Email: mayplantcount@outlook.com. Facebook: May Plant Count Nature Alberta. Instagram: mayplantcount.

A proposed Environmental Strategy and Action Plan on improving Calgary’s environment over the next ten years will be shared with the City Executive Leadership Team before being presented to the City Council Committee on Utilities and Corporate Services, followed by Council engage.calgary.ca/environment.

How to grow difficult native species, create an organic lunchbox, and restore peat wetlands. These were only a few of the topics covered at a 2021 spring workshop “Northern Native Plants and Ecosystems”. The virtual event featured several presentations, such as the Yukon as a miniature Jurassic Park, how to discover past landscapes in Jasper National Park and to protect biodiversity in the Peace Region.

APRIL 2021

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

A bioinventory documents plants, habitat, aquatic and wildlife species, sensitive ecosystems and rare species. Help science by being mindful of local plants, birds, insects, mammals; reptiles, frogs, amphibians, spiders; lichens, fungi, and algae. Citizen scientists can now pay attention to plants and animals in Nose Hill Park, a well-defined natural area, with an abundance of remarkable flora and fauna. As an online project which aims to record and map observations made by park users, the Nose Hill Park Bioinventory contains: 268 observers, 453 identifiers, 517 species, and 3118 observations. www.inaturalist.org/projects/nose-hill-park-bioinventory. Some familiar sights are white tailed deer, the N.A. porcupine, white tailed jackrabbits, and coyotes. Less so are the boreal chorus frog, dawson’s spur-throat grasshopper, northern pocket gopher, and even the single-celled-protozoan in storm water. Another sample yields “wandering” and “western terrestrial” garter snakes. Look up at the horned grebe, swainson’s hawk, American goldfinch, northern shrike.

The City Nature Challenge returns in Calgary and surrounding municipalities (Airdrie, Chestermere, Cochrane, Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, and Okotoks). Taking pictures of wild plants and animals, April 30– May 3; Identifying the images, May 4—9. The results will be announced May 10. Our City will be under a total “bioblitz” and compete with 250+ other cities around the world. It is a free event. Take photos and make audio recordings using your phone, tablet, and camera. Post your observations, using the app on your phone or online. Join the challenge to see how Calgary’s urban biodiversity compares. In 2020, our results put us in the top 50 cities. Of all Canadian cities, YYC achieved more observations, documented the most species, and engaged the most observers. More than 755 species were reported. www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2021-calgary-metropolitan-region.

MARCH 2021

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

In 1984, the “Save the Nose Hill Archives” was deposited at the Glenbow Museum by the Secretary/Archivist of the Nose Hill Park Communities Board. The collection consists of materials including bylaws and regulations, minutes of meetings of various interest groups,  correspondence, legal, and financial records; historical outlines, newspaper clippings, a videotape, scrapbooks and photos; library material including maps, publications and city design briefs, as well as an “I’m for Nose Hill Park” t-shirt.

The Board made recommendations for the Nose Hill Park Master Plan Review. Thorough environmental impact studies are required before making major decisions or changing the resource management plan. Visual impact to be minimized. User wants must not overpower natural environmental principles. No general municipal uses allowed except those directly relating to Nose Hill Park and its objectives. This policy should be clearly stated by City Council and exceptions, if any, made by Council.

Archaeology is an immediate resource. Emphasis on preservation and natural resource values, not development and recreation. Do not install water, fire pits, shelters, or playgrounds. Fences and gates a high priority to prevent night-time access beyond the parking lots near the edge. Access for handicapped to gravel pit area with links to paved paths. Wildlife recognized as an essential component of resources and, for conservation, the Board endorsed the concept of a wildlife corridor in a northern direction (with the city-wide bike path). Restrict maintenance vehicle access. Integrate any emergency access with the pathway system. The impact of planned bicycle paths will be too great and these should be “scaled down”. Dogs are on-leash in the park except for some areas identified in the Master Plan, where dogs would be allowed to run off-leash (under their owners’ control).


New from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

The goals of the 2005 City Council-approved Nose Hill Trail and Pathway Plan were to perpetuate the natural character of the landscape while affording compatible recreational opportunities. The report cited multi-track trails overgrown with weeds, rutted and braided trails. Steep trails were causing erosion of the slope. Old gravel trails/roads were eroded and not maintained.

A system of upgraded trails and paved pathways was constructed to manage public use patterns. Off-leash dogs outside of the multi-use zone. Snow fences for closed trails moved or vandalized.  Users ignoring snow fences and continually using closed trails. The report recommended interpretive and/or orientation signs for observed dog-bylaw compliance. It also predicted day parking lot use, since the Park is closed overnight. Aerial photos showed flat terrain and grasses on the upper plateau, native grassland and other native vegetation at the top of the escarpment.

There were 15 recommendations, with a summary of park use and routes, park amenities, and parking lot upgrades. The balance between the protection of the natural environment, while providing leisure opportunities, has proved to be challenging. Nose Hill has historical, archaeological, and other resources of natural interest, such as wildlife species and habitat features. Habitat for rare, threatened, and endangered wildlife is significant and sensitive to general park use by dog walkers, cyclists, pedestrians, and other visitors.

Nose Hill Park is a unique urban park only 5 kms from the city centre and a walk from neighbouring communities. An “ecological island”, it is a large area of grassland bordered by John Laurie Blvd. along the south, Shaganappi Trail along the west, and 14th St. N.W. along the east. The Park contains some of the largest reserves of native fescue grasslands in Calgary.

Read more at: www.calgary.ca/csps/parks/construction/nose-hill-park-trail-and-pathway-improvement-plan.html.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Would you support a bylaw that prohibits feeding and/or teasing wildlife on private property?

It is prohibited to feed or tease wildlife in Calgary Parks. There are no bylaws against doing this on private property. “Teasing” means to annoy the animals by irritating them or causing them harm. It also means to disturb them by interfering with their normal function or causing the animals anxiety. If such a bylaw is passed, there may be some exceptions.

  1. Feeding birds benefits them since food sources can be scarce in colder months. It brings joy to people. Feeding squirrels should also be exempt, with use of proper feeders.
  2. There should not be exceptions to the bylaw due to concerns for the welfare of wildlife when they rely on humans for food. It jeopardizes the animal’s life and well-being, with the potential to draw more dangerous wildlife to residential areas.
  3. Allow property owners to feed wildlife for rescue purposes. Sometimes interventions are required to rescue animals in distress on private property. It should involve wildlife officials or rescue organizations.
  4. Having different rules and consequences in the bylaw means that teasing can be animal cruelty. Behaviours, such as “shooing” an animal off the property, should not be considered teasing.

The City is exploring a voluntary dog “early warning” system (DEWS), in on-leash areas and off-leash parks. A bandana colour program uses one (or more) of the colours of traffic lights. It is intended to give owners the opportunity to indicate to others how (or if) their dogs should be approached.

The Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw: Phase 2 is at www.calgary.ca/petbylaw. Public input will help the City make recommendations to Council, in spring/summer 2021.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

The objectives of Nose Hill Park, in the Council-approved Nose Hill Park Master Plan Review, included goals to preserve and enhance the natural character of the prairie landscape, to encourage conservation of natural and cultural resources, and to conserve the entire area known as Nose Hill Park as open space for the future use of all Calgarians.

It was noted that we typically demonstrate a high degree of responsible use of common facilities when we are made aware of the need to do so. Such soft controls would likely be sufficient to reduce most damage to a level which allows the terrain to recover, although they will not stop irresponsible use.

The education of park users should be the primary method of resource management. This could be done by the Friends of Nose Hill newsletter, brochures, posters in bike shops and pet supply stores, community newsletters, school presentations, community educational events on Nose Hill, and publications such as A Guide to Nose Hill.

We would have information on the Park’s natural resources (wildlife, vegetation) and their value to the ecosystem, as well as the significance of the Park as a unique resource in an urban environment. We can learn etiquette and rules of use to minimize damage to these resources and help avoid user conflicts.

The Biophysical Study should be shared, with assessment of the degree of threat to significant biophysical and cultural resources. It was  an ecological land use inventory and analysis of the Park from May to Dec.1993. Field studies were conducted from June to Oct. 1993 to map ecological units and and collect soils, vegetation, and wildlife habitat information at 100 sampling plots. Trail condition and use data were collected from late July to late Sept. 1993.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

The Steering Committee for the Nose Hill Master Plan Review was a group of volunteers who invested substantial personal time and effort. They discussed , listened, debated, convinced, and compromised on a wide range of issues which were part of the Plan and the preservation of Nose Hill Park. They believed in the long-term future of the Park as an invaluable resource for all residents of Calgary. However, to ensure their legacy, it depends on the continued strong interest of citizens, like those who participated on the Committee.

Habitat restoration uses native vegetation such as vetch, blue flax and a variety of grasses. Planting of native shrubs and seeding (wildflowers and grasses)  reduces maintenance costs to help support plants, animals, and insects. This increases the beauty, diversity, and access to nature. Restoration takes time. A project can take 3+ years and more to reach the full benefits of the restored area. Please obey any temporary closures, fencing, and signs while the work is done to improve our wild areas. As a key biodiversity target, Calgary aims to restore 20% of open space by 2025.? Native plants were added along the banks of Nose Creek, with invasive plants removed and controlled. Mowing was stopped in some areas so woody plants grow as a natural buffer to prevent erosion and help improve Creek health.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) protects and cares for our country’s most vulnerable natural areas and the species they sustain. It is the only national organization dedicated to preserving Canadian biodiversity through the conservation of land. By donations and conservation agreements, the Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program provides a way for Canadians with ecologically sensitive land to protect nature and leave a legacy for the future.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, 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 www.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.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

In July, the Glenbow Museum asked Albertans to submit letters, photos and drawings or illustrations. “Dear Glenbow” was a project intended to record personal testimonies as a way for us (and future generations) to understand this unprecedented period. “During the worldwide pandemic, what are the things you have experienced over the past few months? What is important to you right now? What are your hopes for the future? Your letter can be as long or as short as you need it to be.” If you sent a submission as part of this project, it will be incorporated into Glenbow’s permanent collection.

When we put out a call we asked our supporters to share their thoughts. “Perhaps interested users of Nose Hill could compose a short piece about their experiences when using the Park.  What did you observe during the ‘lockdown/stay home’ period, in the latter part of March through late May? Do you have stories about nature, wildlife, people enjoying their time on the Hill? How can you transform that into a perspective from the Hill?”

A natural area is a park or portion of a park where the primary role is the protection of an undisturbed or relatively undisturbed area of land with a natural or native plant community. The Natural Areas Management Plan provides guidance. Maintenance methods like mowing and weed control will be different for natural habitat areas than for ornamental parks. As well, people and pets may be restricted to certain parts of natural environment areas in order to protect the plants and animals native to the site. Increasing park usage where it is unsustainable is prohibited. Where recreational use and the long-term survival of significant habitats conflict, protection of the resource will take precedence.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, 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.

JULY 2020

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, 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. www.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.

JUNE 2020

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, 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 improvem?ents.???????  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: www.engage.calgary.ca/pathwaybikeway.

MAY 2020

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

The province of Alberta ensures that wildlife are protected and conserved through the Wildlife Act. While wildlife is provincially regulated, the City manages parks such as Nose Hill. Based on your experiences, what do you think would improve our ability to co-exist with wildlife? This was the first question in an online survey and only part of a review of the Responsible Pet Owners Bylaw. Other questions involve dog behaviour in off-leash parks and public spaces, as well as the reasonable number of pets in a household.

The bylaw was last updated 12 years ago. The aim is to obtain input from pet owners and non-pet owners about benefits, barriers, ideas, and opinions about the bylaw. This engagement is looking into potential regulations in response to concerns around issues such as dog walkers, the retail sale of animals, and the importing of animals.

Both dogs and cats need to be licensed. Cats must be confined to an owner’s property. The City wants to hear from us about the rules. Feral cats (unlike stray cats) are un-owned domestic cats that live outdoors and avoid human contact. What should we do about abandoned pets?

The bylaw says livestock are not allowed unless the owner has a Livestock as Emotional Animal Permit. Urban agriculture includes livestock, beekeeping, pigeons raised for racing or homing. Beekeeping can improve plant pollination and honey can be harvested from some bee hives.

More public input will be required in phase 2 on potential amendments (June 2020). Between January and March 2021, the Council Committee on Community & Protective Services, and then City Council, will vote on the recommendations. For more information, go to our website at www.fonhs.org and the city website at www.calgary.ca.

APRIL 2020

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Join our guided Crocus Cruise and Plants in Bloom walks this spring/summer. Information at www.fonhs.org.  This year’s City Nature Challenge Calgary 2020 will be on April 24-27 www.citynatureyyc.ca and www.Facebook.com/citynatureyyc.

The Nose Hill Park Trail & Pathway Plan aimed to develop major and secondary entry features, trail markers, and signs to provide orientation, interpretation, bylaw, safety and/or educational information for park users.

  • It requires all users to stay on designated pathways and trails while outside of the multi-use zone.
  • Established an upper plateau route to define the multi-use from the escarpment zone boundary.
  • Offered a strategy to close and rehabilitate all informal routes not in the designated routing system.

City signs have been updated: Welcome to Nose Hill Park. Do not allow your dog to chase wildlife. Dogs must be on-leash to and from the off-leash area, including parking lots. Users of the off-leash area do so at their own risk. The Parks and Pathway Bylaw says, while you are in the Park, you must not leave a pathway or trail outside of the designated off-leash area. Dogs are not permitted in areas signed “No dogs”.

Council approved the transfer of $5M to the Council Innovation Fund. An application for $800K was to support a pilot project for roadside naturalization. The proposal explores unconventional methods on public land along roadways, to add natural landscape, eco services, and enhanced biodiversity. This pilot, if approved, will generate the data and feedback to use these methods city-wide. The City will ask institutions, industry stakeholders, and philanthropic groups for private contributions. The Council Committee on Priorities and Finance recommended that staff return to Council, after adjusting the scope and reducing the cost, based on feedback.

MARCH 2020

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Calgary Captured has placed and managed almost 70 remote wildlife cameras in Calgary parks, including Nose Hill. With the help of citizen scientists, partners, and funders, the team has classified 210,378 images to date (which amounts to 1.5 million independent classifications). You can check out their website at: www.zooniverse.org/projects/calgary-captured/.

The City twitter handle is @cityofcalgary and some images are trending on: #calgarycaptured.

The Parks and Pathways Bylaw allows for closure of park areas to address safety concerns, manage wildlife, conduct maintenance and repairs, or allow for rehabilitation of natural areas. With limited resources, public awareness will be required to encourage compliance. The City reserves the right to close areas, restrict use, or limit activities. With a common sense approach, users should still respect the environment and open space. The intent is to enforce the Bylaw in a manner that emphasizes education but fines have increased for all offences.

The Alberta Native Plant Council (ANPC) Society offers Guidelines for Rare Plant Surveys and how to grow native plants. The Keys to Alberta Species lists 4 new families. Photos of many species are required. There is a Call Out for Presenters. A list of invasive species includes those regulated by the Alberta Weed Control Act. Plant Study Groups are across the province to nurture interest in— and expand the knowledge of— native plants and local ecology. In spring/summer, meet outdoors (in the field), indoors in fall/winter. The Southern Alberta Study Group meets at the U. of C. Herbarium. It is a friendly and informal venue to share a common fondness for plants and the natural world. The 2020 ANPC Workshop “Northern Native Plants and Ecosystems” will be on March 28, 2020 in Peace River, Alberta. www.anpc.ab.ca.



News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

When the City’s plan for paved pathways in Nose Hill was approved by City Council in July 2005, we understood, during the public consultation, that user conflicts and enforcement would remain issues in park management. Now some park users fear too many signs will inhibit enjoyment of a prairie grassland natural environment park. Dogs off leash in on-leash zones disturb native vegetation and important wildlife habitat, such as foraging, breeding, and nesting areas. Encounters between dogs and wildlife mean injuries or being put down, for public safety, during denning season.

In a recent Nose Hill Update, the Ward 4 Councillor announced new measures. Fences to stop cyclists from off-roading on the slopes to prevent damage. Updated entrance signs, added garbage bins and wooden posts, for enforcement of the Responsible Pet Owners Bylaw. A dog is on leash, unless in a designated off-leash area. Please pick up and properly dispose of waste (due to health reasons). No dogs within 5 metres of a playground and playfields.

Nose Hill Park supports some of the last remaining native fescue grasslands in Calgary. Foothills fescue grassland is one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet, and some of it is found on the slopes of Nose Hill. The majority of the top of Nose Hill is off leash. All remaining coulees, slopes, and escarpments are on-leash areas. A dog must be under owner’s control or fines for a dog at-large (unattended). Eco tourism attracts visitors to our City, much as Central Park, in New York City, is most visited.

Check out Welcome Alberta Birds on Facebook for sighting Black-backed or Downy Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Osprey; Great Horned, Short-Eared, Snowy, or Boreal Owls; Barn Swallows, Ruffled Grouse, and Bohemian Waxwings.  Join the Bird Count!


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

The City conducted a Downtown Off-Leash Dog Area Study. In Calgary there are off-leash areas at 157 locations and 1,200 hectares city-wide. The 2011 Calgary Parks’ Off-Leash Area Management Plan provides for new off-leash opportunities. In addition, there are an annual joint review of the City Parks development guidelines and standard specifications for landscape construction.

A 1983 study of the Calgary Region reports how it contains a great abundance and diversity of wildlife. Upland natural areas are rare in any urban area but the City has set aside Nose Hill as a natural area of prairie grassland. Once widespread this type of vegetation has now virtually disappeared in many areas of Alberta. Isolated clumps of willow and clones of trembling aspen add diversity. There are guidelines for protection of environmentally significant areas. Accepting or rejecting a site should not be based on disturbance, since most of the land within the city limits will be developed. Any natural remnant of the original landscape becomes a resource of great value. The report predicts that the importance of Nose Hill as a natural area will increase as the City expands to the north and west, completely encircling the Hill.

In 2015, Council adopted the BiodiverCity Policy and 10-year biodiversity strategic plan. The aim was based on The Durban Commitment: Local Governments for Biodiversity. The 13 members of the Advisory Committee on BiodiverCity are appointed by City Council and meet regularly. (Meetings are open to the public.) It reports to the Council Committee on Community and Protective Services and provides an annual progress report.

The World Commission on Protected Areas involves 140 countries in mobilizing action in science, conservation, policy, and engagement to support well managed and connected parks and other protected areas. There is a green list of protected and conserved areas in a global database of case studies and solutions for a Healthy Planet, with maps and photos at ProtectedPlanet.net. There are best practices for protected area managers, technical reports, a PARKS Journal, and briefings.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Trees, plants and weeds on public land belong to the City, so it is illegal to prune or remove a tree. Stay on designated trails. Do not litter. Do not disturb or feed wildlife, including birds, in a park. The new City Parks & Pathway Bylaw prohibits: Extending a backyard into park land; Using park or green space for personal storage, such as parked vehicles; Mowing a natural area; Planting in? or removing vegetation from? a natural area.

If your home backs onto a park, green space, or natural area, you may incur a fine of $500 to $10,000, if you build beyond your legal property line. Just a few examples the City has found are: a fence, driveway, retaining wall, shed or backyard fire pits, patios and children’s play forts.

There have also been reports of animals being abandoned in the city. There is a sense that some who release their pets on Nose Hill believe that domestic animals will enjoy freedom. However, the fact is that pets do not fare well with predators and other wildlife in an urban environment. Instead of being kind, such releases are actually cruel.  Uncontrolled breeding may well result in culls of feral animals, which is unfortunate and otherwise unnecessary.

Download the free City of Calgary Pets App (in development) to access more information. This is the official app of The City Animal & Bylaw Services. It connects you to the Animal Services Centre where lost pets running at large are now waiting to be reunited with their owners or adopted into new homes. The app has a map of Calgary’s off-leash areas and where to find 24-hour emergency vet clinics, the Animal Services Centre, and the Calgary Humane Society.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

All the details about our annual general meeting in November are posted on our website at www.fonhs.org.

You can read about Beryl Hallworth (1911-2000) in Iris: The Newsletter of the Alberta Native Plant Council. She spent years identifying plants and donated over 1600 types to the University of Calgary collection. After her retirement, she worked to catalogue the Banff Museum collection of 6000. Beryl contributed to safeguarding Nose Hill as a protected area, published articles on the expeditions of pioneer naturalists to western Canada, and produced a book on the Plants of Kananaskis Country in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. In addition, she continued to study plants in the prairie area near her home on the University Reserve Lands, which she wished to be preserved for future Calgarians. She was included in the Who’s Who of Canadian Women.

A member of the Calgary Natural Areas group of the Calgary Field Naturalists’ Society since its beginning, she faced political issues to preserve Nose Hill Park, a beautiful hill of fescue prairie and parkland that overlooks the north side of Calgary. She made at least three submissions to City Council. It was a long campaign to preserve the park and only through the e?orts of those like Beryl that Nose Hill Park now exits. In 1988, she edited Nose Hill: A Popular Guide. She was presented with an honourary membership in the Calgary Field Naturalists’ Society and the Loran L. Goulden Memorial Award by the Federation of Alberta Naturalists, due to her outstanding contributions to natural history in Alberta.

Beryl wrote: “The Friends of Nose Hill is a strong group which works very hard in its efforts to protect the natural areas of the hill. When the future of Nose Hill was being hotly discussed, a political Task Force of six people was set up with members from Edmonton and Calgary. It took nearly 18 years of fighting for a Nose Hill Park and lobbying began in 1972. It was a wonderful moment when we heard the news!” Her account was archived digitally for the University of Calgary Library and Cultural Resources Collection.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

At this time, we are planning our annual general meeting. Details about our guest speaker will be posted on our website at www.fonhs.org. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. We also post documents about Calgary residents who helped to save Nose Hill and Fish Creek Park.

City Council asked staff to submit an application to designate Calgary as a Bee City no later than the end of 2019. The City did restoration work in a natural area to improve wildlife habitat and increase biodiversity. An endangered species of bumblebee was discovered. This means the species, which was only otherwise seen in northern Alberta and in a small area in the Yukon, is at risk of disappearing from the Canadian wilderness.

The mandate of the Biodiversity Policy is to restore open space, increase biodiversity, and promote flora and fauna in Calgary communities. There are benefits to pest control, pure water, climate, and the environment. Eco resilience commits to plan, protect, manage, and restore open space. Ecosystems should be productive, diverse, and healthy in order to recover from disturbance and adapt to change.

Bee City Canada helps pollinators on both public and private land. There have been declines around the globe, due to habitat loss, disease, pesticides, and parasites. Organizations, schools, businesses, campuses, as well as other cities, towns, and First Nations across the country have applied and been granted special status. The City of Airdrie, which is the 23rd Bee Canada City, has an urban beekeeping pilot and a community orchard.

Pollinators, such as bees, beetles, bats, butterflies, hummingbirds, and flies play a major role in sustaining the world’s plant species. Native trees, shrubs, grasses, vines, grasses, and flowering plants (“forbs”) are being planted in parks and open spaces. There are steps taken to provide nesting areas for cavity and ground nesting bees.

National Pollinator Week celebrates the fact that 75%+ of our flowering plants and nearly 75% of our crops are helped by pollinators. (Blueberries, almonds, squash, chocolate, and coffee all depend on them). Participants are asked to choose plants which bloom, one during the spring, one in summer, and the last in fall. These programs are free. For more information go to: beecitycanada.org


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Why did it take so long to preserve Nose Hill, a natural prairie bluff, as public parkland? During the Ice Age, the area was covered by glaciers. About 19,000 years ago, there was a Glacial Lake. The large boulders found on Nose Hill were left behind and used as “rubbing stones” by bison. The last of the herds overlapped with use of the hill for cattle and sheep herding.

In 1980, City Council approved the Nose Hill Park Master Plan and, in 1981, the Nose Hill Park Communities Board was formed, with representatives from 12 communities. A series of court battles ensued between the City and private land owners. While residents opposed development, there were land swaps. The City and the province agreed to share the costs.

Nose Hill was described as “a blank page” and a challenge to keep its natural and archaeological features. The “founders” hoped that education of future generations would instil in them appreciation and concern for Nose Hill, ensure a sense of stewardship and show respect for the park. Some issues they anticipated were vandalism, rowdyism, picking native flowers, dogs running loose, campfires, and off-highway vehicles (such as golf carts).

Work on the Glenbow Western Research Centre (which opens at U. of Calgary in Sept. 2019) is progressing, as Glenbow’s Library and Archive material relating to the history of western Canada moves to the University’s Taylor Family Digital Library. The Glenbow held a small but significant collection relating to the environmental movement in the region (with a total of 35 collections), the Alberta Wilderness Association, Calgary Field Naturalists, Nose Hill Park Communities Board, Friends of Nose Hill Society, Sierra Club of Alberta, Calgary Eco-Centre Society, and others.

There are reports, plans, briefs, newsletters, correspondence, minutes, and notes.  You will find legal papers, maps and drawings, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings about personalities and activities associated with the area and park. There are some aerial photos and views of Calgary from Nose Hill, as well as a distant view of Nose Hill, in the 1940s, as observed from 16th Ave. N.W.

JULY 2019

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Volunteers of all backgrounds, abilities, and experience contribute to our quality of life. Some take care of parks, green spaces, playgrounds, pathways, trees, natural areas, and offleash areas. Others conduct eco research or provide park users with informative, interpretive experiences. You can apply online at www.calgary.ca, use the 311 mobile app, or phone 311.

Individuals commit to 6 shifts per season to volunteer as park interpreters at city parks, including Nose Hill. They greet park visitors; provide information, presentations, and interpretive activities to visitors; and promote upcoming Parks programming. Parks Interpretive Experience positions are seasonal (May – October). Sanctuary Host positions at Inglewood Bird Sanctuary are year-round and subject to availability. Green Leaders assist us to identify park projects in the community and organize community volunteers for projects, such as painting benches or picnic tables, invasive species pulls, and park cleanups.

Individuals or groups make short commitments to promote responsible pet etiquette in off-leash dog parks. They attend scheduled P.U.P.P.Y. events with Parks staff where volunteers participate in park cleanup and distribute dog waste pick-up bags and other materials to park users.

The Off-Leash Ambassador program is a volunteer-led approach to educate citizens about responsible pet ownership and to ensure safety in off-leash areas. The program was launched in 2013 as part of a commitment to work with and support Calgarians, to comply with the bylaws in Calgary’s 150 off-leash areas.

Volunteers in the Off-Leash Ambassador program act as positive role models. They promote responsible pet ownership, with positive pet interactions and safety, in our off-leash parks and at community events. They answer questions about Calgary’s bylaws in off-leash areas; provide an avenue for citizens to share their concerns with City staff; and promote City services, such as animal adoption and licensing.

New volunteers receive an orientation and training program that includes a review of the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw, which requires dog owners to remove dog waste and to keep their dogs under control at all times for everyone’s safety. They also attend an animal behaviour and safety session from a certified professional dog trainer. You can take the pre-training online course at www.calgary.ca/Volunteering/Off-leash.

APRIL 2019

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

According to the Parks Department, there is a plan for Nose Hill to redesign the parking lots, signage, install posts and some fences. It is to better inform park users as to where they are on the hill and where they are allowed to go for the activities they wish to do. City Bylaw will more easily enforce the off leash/on leash area, since it will be clearly marked. The fences are planned just to show entrances to designated pathways and they are going to be post and rail, no post and cable system proposed. City Parks is going to try and make any additions of posts/fences or rocks as effective as they can be, to show boundary lines, without being too intrusive. The City is still looking for funding, so not sure when the project will start. Stay tuned.

In the mid-1960s, efforts to conserve the North Hill Coulee, a brook which remained undeveloped because of uneven terrain, was organized by the Centennial Ravine Park Society. Before Confederation Park was developed in 1966-67, natural springs led to a small creek running down the ravine. When snow melted or during a heavy rain, the valley flooded. The water was channelled into a larger stream and a system of lagoons.

Confederation Creek, a tributary of Nose Creek, runs along the bottom of the gulley, and with diverted storm water, a beloved wetland that has been there since the Ice Age glaciers retreated. Friends of Confederation Creek Association, a public Facebook group, aims to preserve, protect, and restore Confederation Creek, including its watershed. The purpose is to improve water quality in the Nose Creek and Bow River basins by protecting and re-establishing wetlands as daylight water courses, such as Confederation Creek. As the group researched the history, they became aware of the significance of Nose Hill and how intertwined the history is of the Creek and development in NW Calgary, including the preservation of Nose Hill.

Weekly data is collected by CreekWatch Alberta at sites along creeks entering the rivers flowing through Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer. Comparisons help highlight storm water impact on creeks throughout the open water season, March-October, and a report is published annually on World Water Day.

MARCH 2019

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Due to the Parks & Pathway Bylaw review, Calgary Parks will explore allowing liquor at signed picnic sites, with food, as per provincial regulations. The online survey is of major public parks (such as Bowness) and local community green spaces. A pilot project could launch in the summer, 2019

The BiodiverCity Advisory Committee was established by City Council in October 2015. The goal is to support the City’s Biodiversity Policy, by including conservation. The Committee works on engaging stakeholders, communications, and reviewing City policies related to biodiversity (85%  of students understand the term).

The Committee reported to Council in Dec. 2018 and, previously, in May 2017. (The 2019 work plan is being developed.) This report presented the Committee’s 2018 work plan and an overview of work from 2017 to the present.

Highlights were meetings with City councillors; providing expert advice on biodiversity-related documents; and having a survey question on biodiversity in the Calgary Foundation Vital Signs report. In all, 67% were familiar with the term (25% very familiar; 42% familiar).

There should be open and transparent dialogue between public and staff Committee members and the plan for members is to have outreach sessions with City business units. Some of the areas of concern, with different jurisdictions, are urban wildlife management and soil handling, climate change, and preventing flooding. The aim is to advance awareness at the City and of the public. The group wants to ensure positive outcomes for Calgarians, visitors, wildlife, and plant communities.

Habitat restoration is important in the strategic plan to restore 20% of Calgary’s open space, by replacing turf grass with native grasses and wildflowers. In addition to site visits at Confederation Park, Bearspaw, Inglewood, and the Weaselhead,  there were biodiversity awards, since 2017, with 3 categories for projects at the Calgary Youth Science Fair, as well as school programs and day camps on environmental education.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

The Calgary Parks Department is in the process of revising the 1998 Integrated Pest Management Plan and Council Policy (CSPS017). The update will consider pest management on all City lands, including natural areas. The most common pests are weeds, insects, some animals, and diseases. The 2017 City Pesticide Use report lists the products, amount used, and reasons for use. In Winter 2019, a proposed policy draft will be shared with stakeholders for feedback. Then, the report will be sent to the City  Council Committee on Community and Protective Services.

It is estimated that 270+ species of birds make Calgary their home. There are birding courses and guided walks to improve your bird-watching skills. We host a Nose Hill Birding Walk for International Migratory Bird Day and a Flower Walk to discuss the May Count of Plants in Bloom. www.fonhs.org.

Welcome to Alberta Birds is a public group on Facebook. The purpose  is to provide a forum in which Alberta birders and birdwatchers can post information, photos of recent sightings, and ask for advice on bird identification or equipment. Let others know about birdrelated events in our province and share a general love of birds. Members at all levels are welcome. Relevant group content will only be photos or videos of birds in Alberta. What birds visit your feeders? Which birds do you see in your neighbourhood? Alberta Backyard Birds is a private Facebook group you can join to post your photos, with fun or interesting news about wild birds you see, or other wildlife out and about in Alberta.

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is a natural environment park. The Facebook group has a City website link. You can book Parks group programs for adults or children, youth and school programs, drop-in and day camps. The park was registered as a Federal Migratory Bird Sanctuary, in 1929. In 1953, the Alberta Fish & Game Association leased the land. In 1970, the City purchased the property and now manages it. The Nature Centre was built, in 1996, when the grassland restoration projects began. The new regional park, based on nearby open spaces, will be called Bend in the Bow.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Many of you came to our Nov. annual general meeting. Thank you to our guest speaker for her very interesting report on “wildlife after dark”, based on a series of on-site cameras on Nose Hill and in other Calgary parks. The City uses many methods to manage human-coyote coexistence, including: • Gathering reports of coyote sightings • Educating the public with tips on coexistence • Investigating conflict from reported encounters • Identifying and removing food, garbage or other conflict sources • Re-establishing a coyote’s natural shyness towards humans • Closure of parks and pathways, where needed, to protect the public and wildlife.

There have been extensive public consultation and an online survey for the Parks and Pathways Bylaw Review. As previously reported, the Bylaw also deals with dogs, signs, cycling, in-line skating, trees and plants, even drones, but not smoking, pet ownership, or tree protection. Once expected sooner, the results will be delayed, until the first half of 2019. This is due to “keeping an eye on” at least a couple of issues (cannabis legalization and the bike share program). The report to City Council promises to cover “any emerging impacts.”

This fall, there was a free hike on Nose Hill sponsored by Alberta Wilderness Association. The guide was Gus Yaki, a renowned naturalist, who leads bird-watching groups and has birded around the world. Global Bird Rescue is a FLAP Canada initiative that brings the issue of bird-building collisions to the public. This weeklong event, dubbed Collision Count Week, brings communities together to search for fallen birds in the neighbourhood. Using the Global Bird Collision Mapper enables reports on the location, status and species of the birds recovered, including photos. This citizen science tool shows every collision reported on an interactive map, with invaluable data for our understanding of the issue.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

We were recently invited to join the National Community Park Group Network  of “Park People”. The group has online resources, a Community Park Group Guidebook, park toolkits, and funding ideas. There are reports on the challenges and opportunities of our parks, in addition to  information on how to make the case that “parks matter”, and  videos of  the first National City Conference. Potential members should review the Guiding Principle for Community Park Groups and create a map profile.

Nature Canada aims to have a positive impact on the natural world with the collaborative partnership of 150 women of influence. Women for Nature has the collaborative voices of Canadian women with vision, who choose to demonstrate their passion for nature and pass on their values to others in order to effect change. Women for Nature is a generous initiative by professional women from across Canada – this unique partnership of motivated women champions Nature Canada’s work to their network of colleagues and friends. The goal is to be more effective in the efforts to save wildlife, protect nature, and inspire young leaders. http://naturecanada.ca/initiatives/women-for-nature/.

Stand up for Protected Places in Canada! Our group has signed The Protected Places Declaration: A Natural Legacy, because protected areas directly address the primary driver of extinction, habitat loss and degradation. A mass extinction, unlike any since the disappearance of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, has already resulted in global wildlife populations decreasing by over half, since the 1970s. Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers of Environment, Parks and Wildlife signed A Statement of Commitment to Complete Canada’s Networks of Protected Areas, in 1992, and this work remains unfinished.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

The city is well-known for its park system and has one of the largest urban parks in North America, Nose Hill Park, covering 11 km2 of land in the northwest quadrant of the city.

Please plan to join us at our annual meeting on Wed. Nov. 7 at Triwood Community Lounge, 2244 Chicoutimi Dr. NW, at 7 pm when our invited speaker will be Samantha Managh, who is a Parks Ecologist with Calgary Parks Urban Conservation.  Her research background is in wildlife management, transportation ecology and citizen science. She is responsible for city-wide landscape analysis for wildlife and leads the citizen science program.

She will report on the results of Calgary Captured! science program which has over 60 wildlife remote cameras in 13 parks. This season includes 70,000 photos from Sept. 2017-Feb. 2018. The data on Nose Hill from May-Aug. 2017 counts a total of 406 events: coyote (13), muledeer (172), unknown deer (60), and white tailed deer (161).

We assume that animals find it easier travelling through open habitats such as native grasslands, which provide lower resistance to movement, than busy roadways, industrial areas, or fenced neighbourhoods. The City can now move to prioritizing areas for protection and restoration that will have the most impact on maintaining and improving wildlife connections in the city.

Canada signed the 1992 UN Convention on Biological Diversity, an international treaty that aims for conservation. There is a statement of committment to complete Canada’s networks of protected areas and the work is not finished. The Protected Places Declaration provides for our Natural Legacy. There are many benefits from protecting natural areas by preventing extinction, habitat loss and degradation.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Watch for details of our annual general meeting and other news on our website at www.fonhs.org. You can go to www.engage.calgary.ca/parksbylaw to learn about the results of a public survey. For Fall 2018: the Updated Parks and Pathway Bylaw draft was presented to Council for approval. As part of the Bylaw review,  there were information and ideas from reports, 3-1-1 calls, and best practices from other cities. Public engagement is now closed. A citizen science initiative has been launched on the volunteer research website Zooniverse to enlist the help of Calgarians to “crowdsource” the identification of images. www.zooniverse.org/projects/calgary -captured/calgary-captured.

A Walk Leader on Nose Hill was Shelley Alexander, a Professor at University of Calgary and an international expert in wild canid ecology (coyotes and wolves). She is an adept wildlife tracker, who has studied human-coyote interactions, and uses satellite images for mapping in conservation. The Walk Duration was 1.5 hours and areas of Interest were Urbanism and Environment.

Beginning at the Many Owls Valley Parking lot (at Brisebois Drive) on Nose Hill, the walkers ascended the gentle slopes of this native grassland ecosystem; to the top where they had a vantage of the Calgary cityscape and the undulating foothills parklands spanning west to the Rocky Mountain Front. Here they could view the world from the perspective of a coyote and understand the challenges they face living in this urban to wild slope.

Continuing the walk of the trail circuit, they watched for signs of coyote (tracks/scat); discussed local research methods and findings; shared fun facts about urban coyotes; and learned tips to help them live together and co-flourish. Dogs and children were welcome. This walk route was partly paved, partly grass/packed, and gravel trail. The Meeting Place and Finish Point was: Many Owls Valley Parking Lot – North of the Intersection of John Laurie Blvd. and Brisebois Drive, NW.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

There are 150 Off-Leash areas in Calgary and the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw will be reviewed next year. Bylaw Services reminded dog owners about the rules when walking pets in public parks and Off-Leash areas. The Department increased enforcement in Nose Hill Park. The City held an informal public information session, during the summer, at Nose Hill, a popular area for many dog owners. Although it is one of the largest walking trails in Calgary, the only Off -Leash area in the Park is the Multi-Use Zone on the plateau (on the top). This means that dogs must be On-Leash in the parking lots, on the pathways, and elsewhere in the park.

Discover the history of Nose Hill Park! was a registered City of Calgary Parks program which focused on everything Nose Hill Park has to offer, from past to present. This program was for children ages 6 – 12 years old.  Participants learned about this historic area through guided walks, nature education, and engaging activities, in order to become natural stewards of their local parks and green spaces.

Since the 1960s, various groups lobbied to have Nose Hill preserved as a natural park. In 1972, a group representing 8 communities pursued the matter. The result was the Nose Hill Design Brief, approved by the City, to set aside 1650 hectares for a Natural Environment Park. In 1976, however, the City rezoned part of the land for housing. In response to public discontent, the City reviewed the zoning issue and, in 1980, approved the Nose Hill Park Master Plan, which aimed to preserve 1109 hectares for the park. In 1981, the Nose Hill Park Communities Board was formed to provide public input into implementation of this plan. There were 12 community associations represented on the board and it kept the issue in the public eye. The City finally reached a deal with remaining landowners, in 1989, and Nose Hill Park became a reality.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Jane’s Walk” honours the legacy of Jane Jacobs, an advocate for city planning, by having these local community members host free walking tours. (See: The Calgary Foundation website).

“Knowing Nose Hill, a Walking Conversation”, was led by Alex Mowat, an interpretive guide in the Rocky Mountains, on the B.C. coast, and in the sub-arctic. He is with Canadian Parks and Wilderness. According to Mowat, Nose Hill Park is like a member of our community. Many of us have a variety of experiences and memories associated with it. Some of us grew up looking at it and experiencing it as young children; others later. Maybe a friend introduced you to it or you, more or less, stumbled upon it. Maybe today will be your introduction?

By foot, bike, snowshoe, dirt, paved road or snow track, we have explored it, commuted over it, traversed it, breathed in the Rocky Mountains under brilliant blue skies from up top. It is home to a tremendous number of species of flora and fauna, serving as an important conservation space that also gives Calgarians the opportunity to relax, connect, and recreate in an environment connected to both our prairie and mountain roots. Nose Hill is a magical place that I am inspired to share, he wrote.

Another Nose Hill Walk was led by Cheryle Chagnon-Greyeyes, a Cree woman who works at the U of C Native Centre, and Elizabeth Cooper-Dodds. Traipsing together up an old road, carrying blanket and drum, the walkers were greeted by a Blackfoot Medicine Wheel, as they reached the summit on the east side of Nose Hill Park. They sat in a circle, joined together by sharing and learning about the sacred medicines; the significance of the medicine wheel; stories and songs; drumming and sharing in a positive way.

They could make tobacco offerings at the Blackfoot Medicine Wheel to end their circle, then descend, with blanket and drum, to end the journey. This walk did involve climbing/descending, with steep slopes and uneven terrain, and was not recommended for those with mobility issues. Children and “well-behaved” dogs were welcome to share in the Indigenous Walk N Drum on the Hill. Participants could bring their own drums and blankets. Subject to weather, with the vast, open rolling hills in this area, participants were advised to prepare for the weather conditions.

JULY 2018

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Park Clean-Ups

Thank you to the volunteers who initiate clean-ups on Nose Hill, in other parks or green spaces, and in communities. The city offers free TLC kits for groups of ten, with enough garbage bags, gloves, hand sanitizers, with instructions. There are some tips for before your cleanup, on the day, and after, when you share your story. Tweet using #yyccleans.

Park Interpreters

Seasonal Park Interpreters must be 18+ years of age. Volunteers are needed from June to October and the commitment is of 6 shifts per season. Sanctuary Hosts work year-round when positions are available. Other Green Initiatives promote Parks programs. Training, supplies, and support are provided.  If you join the Parks Environmental Education team, there is a screening policy and it may include police information checks. You will be able to learn about nature and cultural history, meet others, represent the city, and foster environmental stewardship.


Health Canada registers pesticides in Canada. There are federal and provincial laws, city environmental policies, and public notification for general pesticide use. The City’s Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) has a Subcommittee which reviews the process and makes annual recommendations to EAC.

Since the early 1990s, concerns have been raised by environmental stakeholders about spraying pesticides. A task force was struck. City Council approved a Plan, in 1998, which applies to all civic land, including natural environment parks, such as Nose Hill, although there is a 1994 Natural Area Management Plan.

Representative and viable habitat types will be protected, so that environmental impact and safety are considerations. There are restrictions on human use in some areas of Nose Hill, such as the escarpment and aspen woods,  to protect the native plants and wildlife. According to the 1994 plan, where recreational use and significant habitats conflict, protection of the natural resource will come first.

For more information about Friends of Nose Hill visit their website here: www.fonhs.org

JUNE 2018

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

International Migratory Bird Day in May was when we offered a free guided walk during the peak time for migrating birds, especially songbirds, to return to Calgary. It is also when they are actively searching for and establishing nesting sites. There is a link on our website to past bird observations for the species that may be seen on Nose Hill. The males will be singing to attract a female and they tend to be most active at an early hour, from sunrise until 10 a.m. In addition, there was an evening Flower Walk to identify and discuss the May Count of Plants in Bloom.

The 2000 Calgary Pathways and Bikeways Plan is being updated to reflect changes to the existing network, updated connections, and approved policies. Priorities will also be reviewed, to determine new pathways, bikeways, and missing connections, so as to improve connections city-wide. With the consultation currently underway, it is anticipated that the final plan will be presented to City Council, in July or Sept. 2018.

The 2003 Calgary Parks and Pathways Bylaw is being reviewed.  A report will summarize the feedback received and offer an analysis to determine if a second phase of engagement is required. Once the process is complete, the results of the consultation will be posted on the City’s website. During the summer, a project team will determine next steps, before the updated bylaw is drafted and presented to City Council for approval in the fall of 2018.

Although the survey is now closed, part of it asked about linear parks for walking, running, cycling, and dog walking. Another was about pathway use year-round, ranging from popular routes for recreational activities; community connection for walking to schools, community stores, or centres; and for commuting to and from work.

Smoking in outdoor recreational spaces; responsible pet ownership rules for on-leash and off-leash; and tree protection on public land, including in city parks, are not part of the review. However, the Parks Bylaw and others may need to be changed to reflect the legalization of recreational cannabis.

For more information about Friends of Nose Hill visit their website here: www.fonhs.org

MAY 2018

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

The Parks and Pathways Bylaw The Parks and Pathways Bylaw is under review. There was an online public survey and the results will be posted on the city website at www.calgary.ca. We believe in certain parks for certain uses. Natural Areas are different. The survey was not park specific, so park users were asked to name activities they might enjoy in any or all parks. In the fall, the updated bylaw will be drafted and sent to City Council for approval.

The City’s Urban Conservation team The City’s Urban Conservation team hosted an information session on urban coyotes. Among the topics were: what it means to co-exist with coyotes, typical urban coyote behaviour, and what the City, individual, and community can collaboratively do in relation to better co-existing with coyotes.

May Count of Plants in Bloom The FONHS is hosting free guided walks (2 hours) on Nose Hill to identify wildflowers. More details are on our website at fonhs.org. The Alberta May Count of Plants in Bloom is an annual event sponsored by Nature Alberta. The objective is to record plants in bloom throughout Alberta during the last week in May, using a standardized approach. The purpose is to provide information on the distribution of flowering plants in Alberta. This information monitors  the spread of non-native species and provides insights into the response of plants to variations in climate.

Anyone who is familiar with Alberta wildflowers can participate. You select a natural area and record the plants you see blooming then forward the list to the Count Compiler: Kim MacKenzie. Email her at kim.mack@goldpaw.ca. For those who would like to participate in the Count we will have an information package which we will post on our website fonhs.org. It is no problem at all if you find a flower that you don’t recognize. It can be ignored in your Count. (Or you can photograph it for later identification).

APRIL 2018

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

Karen Gummo, a Storyteller & Visual Artist, launched a picture book “LadyBird Fly” which she wrote and illustrated.  The story began with a family adventure on Nose Hill. She developed the tale through workshops with storytelling mentors. Then, she created the visual images, partly from a residency that she did at the Kid’s Creative Museum and from many trips up to her favourite Hill.

I was recently interviewed by a reporter for the CREB Now newspaper and website. The article is “An Uphill Battle: How Calgarians banded together to protect nature and create Nose Hill Park”. The Local Council of Women and the Calgary Field Naturalists’ Society were proponents for a public park on Nose Hill and a development proposal was refused by the City in 1972. However, it took some time for the City and the Province to purchase the land. Meanwhile, Citizens for Nose Hill petitioned against rezoning what remained privately-owned. The environmental movement of the early 1970s was the zeitgeist or spirit of the age and we are truly indebted to the park founders for their legacy to future generations.

The Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw does not allow livestock grazing within city limits, unless approved by the Land Use Bylaw. There is a City Council-approved exemption for the City to use targeted grazing for integrated pest management purposes on City-owned land. Since 2016 and 2017, Confluence Park and Ralph Klein Park have been the selected sites.

In July, 2017, City Council approved a change to the Parks and Pathway bylaw to expand areas for alternative land management tools, such as livestock. The intent was to add target grazing as a permitted use to remove invasive species (weeds) from City parks. After a two-year pilot project it was determined that the cost of using goats was less per hectare than spraying herbicides.

A tender was posted on the City Portal for experienced Livestock managers/ Professional Shepherds. Providing services to a population of 1.2 million is a $1.5 billion annual business for The City of Calgary, which contracts thousands of local, national, and international suppliers each year.

MARCH 2018

News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

One of our new projects is to revisit the Wikipedia entry for Nose Hill Park, at the volunteer editor’s request. The online article has a Talk Page, where anyone can add suggestions. Content must be free and shareable. The template requires more exact and accurate references, with links to online sources.

Grasslands are endangered in N. A. because more than 95% were lost to cultivation, trees, pollution, and development. The grassland is 1 of 7 major native habitat types on the hill which are habitat for a variety of animals. Over 198 wildlife species have been identified on the hill.

By 1879, the bison herds had vanished from Nose Hill. Cattle grazing continued on the hill until 1969. Vehicles were tolerated on parts of the hill until 1971. Long-abandoned hulks of cars were removed from the coulees, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The Nose Hill Park Trail and Pathway Plan was developed, in 2004, for the 2500 acres, with implementation in 2006. The promise was to protect the flora and fauna, with public education and park management. The park has many informal trails or desire lines. The City proposed 60 kms of maintained trails and pathways, of which 52 kms are dirt and gravel, and 8 kms are asphalt.

Of the total $6.6 M in ENMAX Parks Program funds, $4.5 M (from 2007 to 2012) was used for this Plan, as well as for ongoing trail repairs and rehabilitation, interpretive/ direction signs, and additional trail restoration.

The capital program budgets are #499 Legacy Parks and #500 Parks and Natural Areas. The funding source, until 2012, was excess ENMAX dividends over $35 M; later, in excess of $43 M. By 2017, the share was in excess of $47 M, although 50% of that (up to $20 M) was set aside in a reserve for any shortfall in the ENMAX dividends.

One of the priority areas in Council’s Fiscal Plan 2012-2014 was to protect natural/environmentally sensitive areas and maintain or increase green space, with an emphasis on areas of the City that lack parks.


News from the Friends of Nose Hill, by Anne Burke

100 years of Nose Creek Valley History is on Canada’s Local Histories Online at www.ourroots.ca. From Nose Hill looking SW there are the city centre and the Bow Valley Corridor. Looking east from Nose Hill there is the Nose Creek Valley Corridor. Nose Hill, West Nose Creek, and Nose Creek Valley were all one area prior to development.

There are also the small satellite parks that are natural extensions of Nose Hill Park and have been cut off from the Hill after development, such as the small but beautiful Nose Hill Springs Park, in Huntington Hills; and other small surrounding island parks. The spring that gives the park its name became an important and useful local landmark.

Nose Hill Spring Park, a Calgary Heritage Initiative, tells us this section includes the west half of Huntington Hills and the eastern portion of Nose Hill Park. The property was outside the city limits, until 1961 and the development of Huntington Hills began, in 1966. The CPR built its stations on its own land, some of which was subdivided and sold, in 1884, as the town site of Calgary. When Carma began to develop Huntington Hills, the company donated this site and named it Nose Hill Spring Park. The Nose Creek Farmers Union of Alberta placed a cairn and plaque to mark the significance of Nose Hill Spring, honour the early settlers, and celebrate the centennial of Confederation, in 1967.

The Friends of Nose Creek facebook site with 52 members is now public with online discussion and meetings at the park. The aims are to protect and improve the ecological opportunities in the area via environmental stewardship and community drive projects, such as clean-ups.

The Natural Areas Group as part of the Calgary Field Naturalists’ Society (now Nature Calgary) was formed in 1972 to explore the natural areas of Calgary and collect data on plants, birds, insects, mammals, etc. for publication. Two books on Natural Areas in Calgary were published, in 1973 and 1974, with A Popular Guide on Calgary’s Centenary, in 1975. Further Readings on Nose Hill are:  A Popular Guide: Edited by Beryl Hallworth and Exploring Nose Hill: A Hands-On Field Guide, by Jill Kirker and Diane Kary.


by Anne Burke

Thank you to all those who attended our general meeting and enjoyed our guest speaker from the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society.  She answered many questions about wildlife on Nose Hill.  The winners of the photo contest were announced and their photos have been published on our website at www.fonhs.org. Some prizes were from the Councillors for Wards 2, 4, and 7 respectively.

Nose Hill parking lots present a risk to wildlife, such as porcupines drawn to vehicles due to road salt.  Please be mindful and check your car before and after parking near Nose Hill. Off Leash dogs are “quilled” and require veterinary treatment; but the porcupine will, at the least, need to re-grow its quills, be seriously injured, or worse.

There is a lack of support for coyotes when managed as nuisance animals instead of an integral part of the eco lifecycle in nature. Without a balance in the food chain, prey animals abound, and, in general,  there is already pressure  from the loss of green space, in our development-focused urban environment.

There are concerns about the light pollution effect on humans and animals in the natural  environment.  Migratory birds that fly at night head directly into tall buildings, but when lights are turned off, such collisions decrease. This advice is from the Chair of the Light Abatement Committee of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

An Urban Star Park is an area in which artificial lighting is strictly controlled and active measures are in place to educate and promote the reduction of light pollution to the public and nearby. Sky glow from beyond the borders may be visible to observers within the area, but the skies are still usable for astronomy.

The City replaced 80,000 lights throughout the city with new, energy-efficient LED bulbs, to focus the light straight down, which allows us to see the night sky and stars much more clearly. The change can be viewed from space since  2013, when Calgary enacted its “Bright Skies” bylaw.


by Anne Burke

Thank you to all those who entered our photo contest and the volunteers who organized it.  The winners were announced at our annual general meeting and will be posted on the website at www.fonhs.org.

Nose Hill was named one of the third best-rated hiking trails in Calgary, at 5620 14th St. NW.  Since 1980, Nose Hill offers 11.27 sq. kms in area and more than 300 kms of informal trails, for outdoor activities: hiking and walking trails, nature, native grassland, wildlife, plant life, dog walking.

The landscapes of Nose Hill Park are quintessential prairie – scrub, small groves of aspen, grassy slopes. But due to its vast size, The City has made great trails for exploring the many environments in the park, and has allowed even more informal trails that are great for jogging, mountain biking, or just trying to find some peace and quiet. But the views are incredible! If you go, bring your big long telephoto zoom, and you’ll be surprised as to what you see. www.threebestrated.ca/hiking-trails-in-calgary-ab

Nose Hill Park offers one and all a beautiful reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city. This lovely natural space is extensive – 11 square kms – making it the third largest urban park in Canada. It features a few paved walkways, but most are dirt, thus enhancing that feeling and experience of trekking through the prairie fescue grasslands. Along the way, you may encounter any number of significant wildlife from deer, ground squirrels, gophers, and coyotes. www.threebestrated.ca/public-parks-in-calgary-ab

Fish Creek Provincial Park (15979 Bow Bottom Trail SE) and Prince’s Island Park (4th St and 1 Ave. SW) were also named for top-rated trails and as favourite public parks.

Did you know that over 400 species of wildlife live within the City of Calgary?  Do you have questions about the wildlife which share our City? Our guest speaker Jenna McFarland offered a free, fun, and informative talk about the wildlife in Nose Hill Park. She has a passion for the coexistence of wildlife and humans in urban environments. Jenna is the Animal Care Operations Manager, at the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society. She has a B.Sc. and Master of Science degrees, in zoology and marine science, and is a Veterinary Technologist.   For more information, visit: www.calgary wildlife.org.