Calgary Journal Online

Home Environment Environment Land trust looking to preserve area along the Bow River
Land trust looking to preserve area along the Bow River PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 February 2011 16:37

Bow and Beyond Initiative will protect ‘nationally significant’ territory

A non-profit organization is moving forward with its goal to preserve the land along the Bow River from Calgary to the Siksika Nation, an hour east of Calgary.

The Western Sky Land Trust, which focuses on conserving watershed land areas, has launched its Bow and Beyond Initiative to raise funds and awareness for the unique project.

A second community organization recently loaned its support to the conservation effort.  The Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society invited the Trust’s executive director, Tracy Tarves, to its speaker series event on Jan. 21.
Tracy Tarves of Western Sky Land Trust spoke to the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society for an ongoing speaker series about conservation in Calgary.
Todd Colin Vaughn/Calgary Journal

Tarves said that building land trusts ensures that economic and sociological interests of local communities are addressed, which includes working with industry.

In her speech, Tarves mentioned that Calgarians use the Bow River every day for personal, commercial and recreational uses – that creating partnerships to ensure our water is safe is a common interest to the Land Trust and the greater Calgary community.

Grant Brydle, a member of Friends of Fish Creek, has seen the effects of industry and hopes conservation groups like the Land Trust can help.

“Once the land is developed and paved over, it’s lost forever. So it is important to become a sponsor of a group like this,” he said.

Marie Nelson, another member of the Friends of Fish Creek, hopes that landowners and local industries see the merits of conservation projects.

“Anyone who has land along the Bow should donate to land trusts,” she said.

Interestingly, the land along the Bow has been deemed “nationally significant” by Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation, as published in the Land Trust’s 2009 annual report.

Isobel Anderson, another Friends of Fish Creek member, hopes other Albertans catch the vision of preserving watershed lands.

“Water pollution is a very bad thing. If they can get landowners to donate their land or conserve their land – keep it pollution free – that’s extremely important,” she said.

Unlike other conservation groups, Tarves plans to work alongside industry in achieving The Trust’s goals: “Our organization is very much a collaborative-based one.  We are not an anti-development group. We are not an advocacy group. We feel that if land conservation will occur, it will only be through collaboration with the communities,” she said.

As well, the members of Friends of Fish Creek see the merits of working with industry and community groups.

Anderson said her organization is a very specialized one. “We are all very concerned about protecting Calgary’s watersheds.”  

She added that protecting the Bow River and Fish Creek Provincial Park is important for all Albertans.

The Friends of Fish Creek’s speaker series continues all year. For a schedule of events, visit