Goats set to end visit in Calgary park with meet and greet opportunity
Over the past three weeks, approximately 100 goats have been participating in a City of Calgary pilot weed control initiative, testing grazing as a tool to manage invasive plants in parks. The pilot runs until July 10, but early signs are showing that goats are a viable, environmentally-friendly, and cost-effective approach to invasive plant management.
“Calgarians have been very supportive of using goats as a weed management tool,” says Chris Manderson, urban conservation lead for Calgary Parks. “We now know that we can use goats in an active park without disrupting park visitors’ enjoyment of the park, whether on foot, on bicycle, or with a leashed dog. Preliminary signs also indicate that the goats have done an excellent job targeting a significant volume and variety of invasive weeds such as Canada thistle, hound’s tongue, and hawkweed.”
Once the pilot is completed, Calgary Parks will conduct a detailed project review and analysis to better understand the opportunities and possibility of expanding the program to other City parks.
To share this with Calgarians, The City is hosting a meet and greet on Saturday, July 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The drop-in meet and greet will give individuals the chance to meet the shepherd, her team and pet the animals. However, those looking to attend should remember to wear clean clothing and shoes, especially if they’ve been around other livestock, and to consider leaving dogs at home to help avoid stress for the goats and herd dogs. This is to promote good health of the herd at Confluence Park. Parking is available at the Beddington Trail lot; on site staff and signage will provide direction to the goats.