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Good park user - reference guide

Good Park User - reference guide

Calgary boasts 10,000 hectares of municipal park space and 1,000 kilometres of pathways. These amenities are available to Calgarians year-round for their benefit and enjoyment. In order to keep our parks and pathways accessible, inclusive and safe, it’s important that we act respectfully towards each other and the environment. Keeping our parks healthy means they will be always be there for you to enjoy.

The Good Park User - reference guide is an overview of municipal by-laws governing responsible park usage. It was written to advise park users of their rights and responsibilities while visiting municipal parks and greenspaces and while using pathways.

General information

Hours

Parks are open for public use from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, unless otherwise posted. The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Reader Rock Garden and Bottomlands Park are open from sunrise to sunset. Pathways are open 24 hours a day.

Signs

Posted signs are there to alert you to important rules and regulations. These rules were designed for your safety and security and to protect wildlife and their native habitats. Please obey posted signs while visiting any park, green space or natural area.

Etiquette

Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019

While visiting parks, please remember to keep others and the environment in mind:

  • Stay on designated trails.
  • Take away any litter you brought.
  • Treat wildlife with respect and never approach.
  • Leave all natural materials (this includes trees, flowers, berries and plants in general).

Pathways

Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019
  • The speed limit along the pathways is 20 km per hour, unless otherwise posted.
  • Stay to the right side of the pathway except when passing.
  • Do not pass in sections with a double yellow line.
  • When using a bicycle or scooter, use a bell, whistle or horn when passing others.
  • Yield to the right-of-way.
  • Everyone, including walkers and joggers, must be visible to other pathway users.

In-line skating

Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019
  • We recommend you wear an approved helmet, elbow and wrist protectors and knee pads.
  • If you’re in-line skating at night, you must have clear or red lights affixed to your body or clothing that are visible from both the front and back.

Cycling

Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019
  • It is law that all youth under 18 must wear a CSA, ATM or Snell-approved helmet.
  • Make sure your bike is equipped with working brakes and a bell, horn or other alerting device.
  • If you’re riding your bike at night, it must have at least one red taillight, one white headlight and one red reflector mounted at the rear.
  • Pedal assist electric bicycles are allowed on pathways, except where bicycles are prohibited.
  • Power-on-demand electric or gas bicycles are not allowed on pathways.

E-scooters

Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019
  • Use a bell, whistle or horn when passing others.
  • Only one person may ride a shared e-scooter at a time.

Other park activities

Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019
Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw 23M2006
Tree Protection Bylaw 23M2002
Encroachment Bylaw 9M2020
  • The following activities are allowed only in designated areas of parks and pathways. By keeping these activities contained to designated areas we can keep others safe and avoid damage to parks’ infrastructure and natural areas.
  • Riding downhill on a toboggan, sleigh, carpet or any other sliding device
  • Disc golf
  • Horseback riding
  • Hockey
  • Skating
  • Wading or swimming
  • Operating remote controlled toys including remote controlled cars and boats
  • Operating a drone weighing less than 250 grams (while also following the Canada Aeronautics Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. A-2 and its subordinate regulations)

Fires and picnics 

Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019
Tree Protection Bylaw 23M2002
  • Fires must be in a designated pit or fire receptacle and use firewood only.
  • Portable propane fire pits and barbeques must be at a designated picnic site.
  • Charcoal briquettes can only be used in City-designated barbeque stands – not in personal barbeques.
  • Tents 10 feet x 10 feet or smaller may be set up temporarily during the day but must be weighted to prevent flyaways. They cannot be staked into the ground.
  • Do not attach any object or sign to trees or penetrate a tree’s bark on City land. This includes electrical cords, hammocks and decorations.

Activities requiring permits

Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019
Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw 23M2006
Tree Protection Bylaw 23M2002
Encroachment Bylaw 9M2020

The following activities are not allowed unless a permit is granted:

  • Setting-up temporary art installations.
  • Hosting an event with more than 50 persons.
  • Conducting a performance or performances before an audience cumulatively lasting 30 minutes or more within a 24-hour period.
  • Using an amplification system where the amplified sound is audible to others.
  • Taking off or landing a hot air balloon.
  • Setting off fireworks.
  • Flame throwing.
  • Conducting off-leash dog events in areas other than off-leash areas.
  • Operating a petting zoo.
  • Riding horseback in a non-designated area.
  • Posting temporary signs or banners.
  • Erecting any artificial wildlife habitat structures including bird houses, bat boxes or bird feeders.
  • Engaging in wildlife research.
  • Removing fossils or artifacts.
  • Golfing (with the exception of putting).
  • Camping or erecting a tent or other structure (see fires and picnics on the previous page for temporary shade tents).

Trees, plants and weeds

Protecting public trees

Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019
Tree Protection Bylaw 23M2002
Encroachment Bylaw 9M2020
  • The maintenance of trees on public property is the sole responsibility of The City. Cutting, removing, moving or pruning of The City of Calgary trees is prohibited unless City permission is granted.
  • Do not attach any object or sign to trees or penetrate a tree’s bark on City land. This includes electrical cords, hammocks and decorations.
  • City trees cannot be sprayed with any substance except water.
  • Do not plant any trees on City of Calgary public property.

Weeds and park borders

Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019
Tree Protection Bylaw 23M2002
Encroachment Bylaw 9M2020
  • Remember to always leave the park the way you found it. Please leave all plant or animal material and avoid causing damage to a park.
  • A permit is required to pick or pull weeds. In some cases, Calgary Parks is utilizing bugs to destroy entire areas of a very specific weed. Pulling a weed may inadvertently destroy these helpful bugs.
  • If you have property that borders a park, please respect the park space by not removing any vegetation, planting any vegetation or mowing more than one metre from your property line.

Dogs

Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw 23M2006
Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019
  • All dogs must have and wear a City of Calgary license as soon as they reach three months of age.
  • All dogs must be on-leash at all times, unless in a designated, signed off-leash area.
  • All dogs must be on a leash that is no more than two metres long on pathways.
  • Dog owners must ensure that they bring along a suitable means to pick up feces.
  • Dog owners must pick up all feces produced by their dog.
  • Dogs must stay on the right side of the pathway unless passing.
  • You cannot participate in any wheeled activity on a pathway with a leashed dog, unless you are operating a wheeled device
  • designed for people with disabilities.
  • Dogs must be under control in designated off-leash areas. This means they must be in sight of their owners and respond to sight or sound commands.
  • As a dog owner, you must ensure your dog does not:
  • Bite anyone
  • Injure anyone
  • Chase, threaten or attack a person or animal
  • Bark, howl or disturb anyone
  • Cause damage to property or animals
  • Scatter garbage
  • Location restrictions for dogs

Location restrictions for dogs

Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw 23M2006
Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019

Calgary boasts 150 off-leash areas making up more than 1,250 hectares. Dogs are allowed in most parks and on most pathways, however, there are some areas where dogs are not allowed in order to protect and respect other people and the environment. Please keep your dog out the following areas:

  • School grounds
  • Playgrounds
  • Sports fields
  • Golf courses
  • Cemeteries
  • Wading or swimming areas
  • River, lakes or ponds unless at a designated entry point
  • Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Inglewood Wildlands and Weaselhead Natural Environment Park trails in order to protect sensitive wildlife habitat
  • Any area where dogs are prohibited by posted signage

Wildlife

Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw 23M2006
Parks and Pathways Bylaw 11M2019

Calgary is lucky to be home to many species of wildlife. Our diverse and varied wildlife has many benefits to Calgarians:

  • Supports healthy, vibrant ecosystems.
  • Increases resiliency to, and recovery of, natural challenges like pest outbreaks or extreme weather events.
  • Provides a better quality of life for Calgarians.

Remember – Wild animals are best enjoyed from a distance. It’s important for their safety and ours that we respect their space.

Here’s what you can do to help protect wildlife:

  • Do not feed wildlife. Wild animals can become dependent on food from humans and learn habits that can harm them or cause conflicts with people.
  • Please do not feed wildlife either directly or by leaving food or pet waste.
  • Do not disrupt nesting sites. Be aware that nests might be on gravel bars, riverbanks, lakeshores, in open grasslands or in trees and shrubs.
  • Avoid using and/or leaving any materials that may harm wildlife, including litter, pesticides, herbicides, noxious weeds or seeds.
  • If you see wildlife, leash your dog immediately, even in an off-leash area, in order to keep everyone safe.
  • Do not erect any artificial wildlife habitat structures including bird houses, bat boxes or bird feeders.
  • Please attain a permit before engaging in wildlife research.

Glenmore Park Reservoir

Glenmore Park Bylaw (9018)
Water Safety Bylaw (9084)
Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw 23M2006
Water Utility Bylaw (40M2006)

The Glenmore Reservoir and dam are located on the Elbow River. They were constructed to provide Calgarians with a safe and sufficient supply of drinking water and are managed according to the following priorities, in order of importance:

  1. Store an adequate supply for drinking water.
  2. Reduce the impact of high river flows and sustain environmental health.
  3. Provide recreational opportunities.

The City creates and enforces bylaws to protect this valuable resource and the citizens who use it. The following are a list of some of the provisions that protect this very important resource.

  • Boating use only between May 1 and October 31.
  • Approved life jackets or self-inflating personal floatation devices must be worn at all times while the boat is on the water.
  • Water levels may be raised or lowered to manage Water Services systems.
  • No drinking of alcohol.
  • No pets in the water, on boats or on ice. Pets must be on leash at all times in Glenmore Park and on the shore of the reservoir.
  • No stand up paddle boards.
  • No swimming in the reservoir.
  • No inflatables.
  • No power motors.
  • No fishing from docks or ramps (fishing is permitted in non-motorized
  • boats and along the shore).
  • No launching boats from undesignated shore areas.

For more information please visit calgary.ca and search for Glenmore Park Reservoir.


If you use the parks for exercising, socializing, recreation, walking your dog, taking a mental health break or enjoying wildlife and nature, this guide is for you. If you want to know more about how you can be a responsible park user visit calgary.ca/parks for more information.

If you know of a bylaw infraction and would like to report it, please contact 311 or, if you’re outside the city, 403-268-CITY (2489). You can also report it online or through the 311 app.

If you’re interested in volunteering with Calgary Parks, please contact us through 311 or at parksvolunteer@calgary.ca.