Nose Hill Park is unique in many ways. It is the largest urban park in Canada and, as such, has great value to the residents and visitors of Calgary. The park is approximately 1129 hectares in size and comprised of primarily grassland habitat. Nose Hill is four times larger than Central Park in New York.
Nose Hill Park supports some of the last remaining native fescue grasslands in Calgary. Foothills fescue grassland is one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet, and some of it is found on the slopes of Nose Hill. The majority of the top of Nose Hill is designated as off leash. All remaining coulees, slopes and escarpments in Nose Hill Park are designated on leash areas. These areas support the largest area of remaining native vegetation. They also provide almost all of the hiding cover for smaller species of wildlife.
My office has been receiving emails as to why there are posts going up in Nose Hill. The on/off-leash area is not changing, and no fences will be installed, but more signs and garbage bins are being placed to drive the message home to users who do not follow the rules. By-law was unable to hand out tickets to many offenders, as there was not proper signage at all entrances, and in the park, to remove the excuse “I did not know.” The maps also needed to be updated.
The City is adding signs, more garbage bins, and wood posts to better mark where off-leash is allowed, and not allowed. This has been in the works since March 2018, and in response to the growing issues of pet/animal interactions, and the increase in the use of the Park. Nose Hill is a gem of Calgary, and we must protect the vegetation, and wild animals that live in the Park. While still allowing Calgarians who use it for recreation.
There have been issues with pet owners letting their dogs into areas that are not off-leash, which means animal encounters, and there has been an uptick in feces not being picked up. This attracts wild animals, and could be to blame for the increase in animal/pet interactions in the off-leash areas.
The slopes must also be protected as they have some of the most threatened grassland ecosystems on the planet. This is the same reason that we have fenced off parts of the slopes to prevent bikers from damaging the endangered grasses further. Fences that are placed to stop bikers from off-roading on the slopes where the park staff have placed new dirt, and grass seeds on some bike paths, are often cut and bikers damage the work done. This ends up costing taxpayers, as we have to do it again.
This is a community effort, and I ask that everyone respect the rules, as they are there to protect this fragile ecosystem from further damage, and the wildlife who call this park home. If you have any issue, you can reach my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 311.