In a move signaling a renewed commitment to Alberta’s (Canada) natural treasures, former city councillor Jeromy Farkas has assumed the role of CEO for the foundation of Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. This decision comes at a pivotal time, as the park faces potential threats from flood mitigation measures, a Calgary Sun report highlighted.
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, nestled between Calgary and Cochrane, is a haven of diverse landscapes. From its sprawling grasslands and aspen forests to the picturesque hills and mountain vistas along the Bow River, the park has long been a favorite for outdoor enthusiasts. Farkas’s appointment underscores the importance of preserving such spaces for the outdoor recreation industry, which relies on pristine environments to thrive.
Farkas’s passion for the park is evident. He speaks of the “magic” of its landscapes and is deeply concerned about a flood mitigation measure that could see significant parts of the park submerged. “A significant amount of the park would be flooded, it would essentially ruin the enjoyment of the park and limit the building of trails,” Farkas stated. His sentiments echo the concerns of many in the outdoor recreation community, who see the park as a vital asset.
The Alberta government’s East Glenbow reservoir option could potentially flood 724 acres of the 3,200-acre provincial park during peak flooding scenarios. While the government suggests that a reservoir could enhance recreational opportunities and land values, many question the long-term impact on the park’s natural beauty and biodiversity.
In a 2021 online Q & A, provincial officials provided some reassurance, noting that “Under normal operating conditions, the reservoir level would be lower, and the typical flooded area would be smaller.” However, for many, the mere possibility of such an outcome is cause for concern.
The outdoor recreation industry, a significant contributor to Alberta’s economy, stands to benefit immensely from the preservation and expansion of spaces like Glenbow Ranch. Parks not only provide a venue for activities but also play a crucial role in environmental education and conservation awareness.
Farkas’s vision for the park’s future is ambitious. He aims to expand its size considerably, anticipating a five to 10-fold increase in visitors over the next decade. Such growth would further cement Glenbow Ranch’s status as a premier destination for outdoor activities, boosting the industry’s prospects.
Furthermore, Farkas envisions connecting Glenbow Ranch with nearby attractions, such as Calgary’s Haskayne Legacy Park and the Town of Cochrane. The potential construction of a pedestrian bridge over the Bow River would facilitate this, enhancing accessibility for visitors.
The park’s significance extends beyond its boundaries. Farkas emphasized the park’s role in bridging communities, stating, “The park is much more than just the land — it’s bridging communities in a way that will last.” Such connections are vital for fostering a sense of shared responsibility and appreciation for the outdoors.
Featured image from Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation.