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Carburn Park

Carburn Park is a large natural area park nestled along the Bow River featuring three man-made ponds, a regional pathway, and numerous wildlife, waterfowl and wildflowers to experience. The park reflects the preservation of wildlife habitat and ecosystem for all Calgarians to enjoy.

Note: the pathway from Carburn Park north to Glenmore Trail is closed due to river bank erosion undermining the pathway. Until repairs can be completed, please detour through the community. See closure/detour map.

Carburn Park parking lot closure: The City of Calgary Parks is temporarily closing the parking lot at Carburn Park (off Riverview Drive S.E.) to install rain gardens​ and to resurface the parking lot asphalt. Construction will occur in early August and is scheduled to be complete in late September. The park will remain open but the parking lot will be inaccessible to the public. Park visitors can park on Riverview Drive S.E. while the lot is closed.

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Lagoon at Carburn Park

Location: 67 Riverview Dr. S.E. 

Area: 135 hectares

Park hours: 5 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Book this park 
  

Map of Carburn Park 


Park features

Fishing in Carburn Park
  • Two man-made ponds
  • Fishing
  • Outdoor ice skating (seasonal) 
  • Canoes, dinghies, and paddle boats allowed - no motorized boats
  • Washrooms - open year round (7 a.m. - 10 p.m.)
  • Walking trails
  • Tables and benches
  • Birdwatching
  • Dogs permitted, on-leash only 
  • Fire pits (firewood not provided)
  • NO swimming

About the park

Carburn Park lies along the eastern shore of the Bow River and was mined for gravel in the early 1980s. The park is accessible through the community of Riverbend. Carburn Park is undergoing a natural area reclamation in 2013. Portions of the parks may be closed for construction.

Carburn Park Improvements

Beginning in the late spring of 2013, changes to Carburn Park will be implemented, following the direction of the Carburn Park Management Plan. These changes are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

Trail Maintenance

This work includes formalization of trails (upgrading to gravel), and repairing damaged trail sections.

Restoration

This will include closure of informal dirt trails, and planting of trees and shrubs.

Removal of picnic sites and barbeques

To balance park visitor enjoyment, environmental sensitivities and maintenance considerations, fourteen picnic tables and nineteen barbeques will be removed. These removals will ensure all sites are grouped strategically within the park in appropriate locations. Calgarians will continue to be able to enjoy a picnic or BBQ in one of the forty-seven remaining picnic sites that will be retained. Natural Area restoration activities for the removed sites will be completed in spring/summer of 2014. Visitors can expect to see new plants and vegetation as well as reclamation of informal trails into the natural area.

Experience nature in the city

Bird in Carburn Park

Enjoy the largest ponds in the Parks system. Although ponds by definition are usually constructed bodies of water, they compliment the park's natural surroundings. Take a stroll down one stretch of narrow nature trail and enjoy a large pond on one side and the fast flowing waters of the river on the other, providing a pleasant contrast between natural and constructed environments.

Plant life

Carburn Park offers a good example of a riverine deciduous forest and a significant shrubland community. The park's significant deciduous forest contains Balsam Poplar trees and many shrubs including American Silverberry, Saskatoon, Choke Cherry and Canada Buffaloberry.

Among the trees and shrubs in the riverine forest, there are many wildflowers, including Mealy Primrose and Heal-all.

Wildlife

Carburn park is a great place to watch and compare the birds and other wildlife in two very different aquatic habitats. The ponds contain fish which attract a number of species of fish-eating birds including Belted Kingfishers and Great Blue Herons. In the main river channel, diving ducks such as Common Goldeneye and Buffleheads are often sighted.

History

Pathway in Carburn Park
Carburn Park was once part of Senator Patrick Burns' vast prairie empire and at one time was the right-of-way for a railway line that was to have run between Calgary and Montana.

Carburn Park was created in the 1970's; the name comes from "Carburn Aggregates," the name of the company from whom much of the land was acquired and who constructed the ponds.

The upper part of the park is situated on the Porcupine Hills Formation bedrock, which is exposed along the escarpment, but most of the parkland is on deposited river gravel. Some of this gravel was mined and the remainder landscaped into its current form.

European uses of the land were restricted to ranching, gravel mining and a pipeline right-of-way which runs through the middle of the park.​