City of Calgary reopens Inglewood Bird Sanctuary to public
The City of Calgary is pleased to announce the reopening of the majority of trails in Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, the only urban-centered, federally recognized bird sanctuary in Canada, on Thursday, July 30.
Trails have been closed since the flood of 2013, which had significant impacts on sanctuary lands, damaging or destroying infrastructure, creating severe erosion and disturbing natural habitat for plants and animals.
“We’re excited to announce that thanks to tireless efforts by employees, contractors and volunteers, a large portion of the sanctuary will be reopened to the public effective today and ahead of schedule,” says Doug Marter, Planning and Development manager, Parks. “The clean up involved numerous challenges, including environmental sensitivities of the area. This required staff to be mindful and methodical during the clean-up and repair efforts.”
Challenges included: federal requirements that birds could not be nesting or migrating for work to proceed; being aware of the delicate balance between wet and dry ground so that equipment did not disturb plant life; and work close to the river could only proceed during “fish windows,” that occur in April and again from mid-July to mid-September.
“The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is the only urban-centred, federally recognized bird sanctuary in Canada,” says Marter, “Through the sanctuary, Calgarians are able to learn more about our shared responsibility to conserve and protect the environment and have an opportunity to get out and be active in this natural area right in the heart of Calgary.”
For over 80 years the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary has been providing critical habitat to 270 species of birds, 21 species of mammals and 347 species of plants, as well as educational and conservation programming to ensure future generations of Calgarians can engage with the area and have a relationship with its rich natural diversity.
Recovery work still continues in the area, so citizens are reminded to be vigilant and observe all signage in the sanctuary.
“While a large portion of the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is now open, some areas still remain closed to public due to continuing remediation efforts and a risk to public safety,” says Marter. “We ask all visitors to please stay on marked trails and obey all signage for the safety of themselves and our sanctuary wildlife.”
Calgarians can experience the sanctuary and the cleanup efforts in-depth through public flood-tours, running now through September; book a tour online at calgary.ca/IBS.
The reopening of these trails is just the beginning and Calgarians will continue to see more work in the area to help build and expand on the sanctuary, and opportunities available to Calgarians to learn and experience nature here in our city.
This fall, the construction of the TD Outdoor Learning Classroom in the sanctuary will begin, and of a new large-scale regional park in Inglewood, incorporating the sanctuary, is being designed.
With the help of TD Bank, the classroom will both expand the educational programming space and replace infrastructure lost during flood.
The finished regional park will be called Bend in the Bow, and will join the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, the Inglewood Wildlands, Pierce Estate Park, River Passage Park (including Harvie Passage) and the open spaces between these areas to create a large green space for the enjoyment of all Calgarians.
For more information on the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, please visit calgary.ca/IBS.