Bowmont Park Management Plan
About the park
Bowmont Park is one of the city’s most significant natural environment parks. The 165 hectare park is unlike any other park in the city, with a unique mix of native prairie and riverine cottonwood forest. It is one of our largest natural areas and provides important habitat for wildlife.
An updated Management Plan for Bowmont Park has been completed, after extensive public engagement was conducted. Since November 2016, Calgary Parks has been working in the park to implement improvements outlined in the plan. These include:
- A new fenced off-leash area at the park entrance off Silver Springs Gate N.W. that features:
- New benches
- Natural area restoration
- Trail improvements
- Extensive Naturalization work (ongoing).
- Revised off-leash area boundaries throughout the park that provide a continuous corridor from the west to the east.
- Installation of additional signage throughout the park to clarify the on and off-leash area boundaries.
- New interpretive signage will also be installed in 2018.
Please check back on this site for progress on the park improvements. For more information, please view the Frequently Asked Questions document.
About the new fenced off-leash area
The use and designation of the off-leash area parallel to Silverview Way remains unchanged; historically, this strip of land has been a designated off-leash area, and it will remain off-leash. The change involves the addition of a fenced off-leash area within the larger unfenced off-leash area to provide an additional amenity for park visitors to enjoy without disrupting existing use of the space.
Many Calgarians enjoy walking their dog in Bowmont Park, either on-leash or off-leash. Calgarians have indicated that fenced off-leash areas are a valued amenity, and with five fenced off-leash areas in the city (not counting the new Bowmont Park fenced off-leash area), their availability is limited.
Based on the Council-approved Off-leash Area Management Plan, there is criteria that must be met when constructing these fenced off-leash areas, and this site in particular satisfies those criteria. For example, fenced off-leash areas must be located away from sensitive natural areas and close to a parking lot.
Area residents were informed through on-site signage, letters dropped off at nearby homes and through a website update prior to the start of construction. Additionally, stakeholders were informed through email notification. Because use of this area in particular remains unchanged (designated off-leash), residents were informed rather than consulted.
We do not anticipate that parking demand will increase because this entrance is a minor entry point into the park, and is not widely used. If there is an increase in the number of cars accessing the park, there is capacity to accommodate additional vehicles.
About the Plan
The Bowmont Natural Environment Park Management Plan approved by Council in 2003 to balance the protection of environmentally sensitive and significant areas in the park with meaningful opportunities for Calgarians to enjoy this highly valued natural area park.
The recommendation outlined in the 2003 plan have been implemented. The management plan was updated in 2016 to reflect a number of changes in the park such as:
- the acquisition of new land within the park (called Bowmont East) and creation of a Design Development Plan for this newly acquired portion of the park;
- the incorporation of storm water management into the park;
- river bank/riparian erosion due to flooding (2005, 2013);
- new Council approved Off-leash Area Management Plan guidelines (2010); and
- damage to vegetation and river banks from the creation of informal trails.
Public engagement has been an important component in the development of the park’s updated management plan.
There were three main phases in creating the updated plan:
Phase I: May – July 2015
In Phase I, public engagement focused on understanding park visitors' experiences, desired changes and long term vision, including key interests, clarity on off-leash boundaries and reducing conflict on the pathway system.
Phase II: September – October 2015
The second phase of engagement focused solely on off-leash areas because this topic received the most interest in the first phase. With over 865 responses, park users favoured maximizing off-leash area within the park, while still supporting the ecological integrity of the park.
Phase III: November 2016
In the third phase the updated management plan for Bowmont Park was completed.
Details on what we heard are available in the What We Heard Report.