Summer programs available at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park (GRPP) will be offering a variety of summer events and programs over the coming months, starting with half-a-dozen in June.
GRPP Program Coordinator Margaret Herriman said the park, which opened last year and covers about 3,200 acres of foothills parkland between Calgary and Cochrane, is offering three weekly programs this month, in addition to special events such as guided tours.
“We want to offer a lot of different programs for two main reasons. The first is because the park is brand new and not a lot of people know about it, so the programs are a great way for people to come out and enjoy the park and learn more about it,” said Herriman. “The second reason is that this is such a great resource and we want to make it available in as many different ways, to as many different people, as possible.”
The park is now into its third week of Books and Bikes tours, which will take place every Wednesday until the end of August and allow parents and children eight years of age and younger to ride in a group through the park to different locations and read together.
“These rides give kids and parents a chance to enjoy the park in a structured way,” said Herriman. “It’s fun for the kids, it’s educational, and it’s a great way to get some fresh air and a little bit of exercise.”
Another weekly program that began earlier this month is guided golf cart tours of the park, which take place every Friday until the end of August (as well as private tours at alternate times) and allow those who are new to the park to become more acquainted with it.
“It’s a great way to see the whole park, which is pretty large and spans all the way from Calgary to Cochrane,” said Herriman. “They are great if you want to see the whole park or you have visiting family and you want to show them what Alberta is like.”
She said the tours also benefit seniors and those who would otherwise have difficulty getting around the park.
“It’s also fantastic for older people or anyone with mobility challenges,” she said. “The park is really beautiful, but we have some incredibly steep hills. For people with mobility issues, even just bad knees, that can really restrict them from seeing the park. Golf cart tours are a great way for us to open up the park to people who wouldn’t necessarily be able to enjoy it otherwise.”
Park stewards will also be offering their services through two separate programs: weekend fun tours, when the will take users for a tour of the park, to stations set up at various locations around the park on different days of the week.
“We have fantastic volunteers that do a variety of things. They are incredibly knowledgeable and will teach people about birds, the different kinds of plants found in the park and other topics,” said Herriman. “It’s really interesting because it’s something a little different every week.”
The first of three special events also taking place this month will be a “Ranching, Past and Present” history tour of the park on June 16 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The tour will be led by Herriman, who is currently working on her master’s degree in history from the University of Calgary (U of C), specializing in ranching and Western Canadian history.
“Until very recently, this park was a private ranch and is still home to ranching. We have about 300 calf/cow pairs in the park,” said Herriman, 26. “The tour looks at how ranching got started in southern Alberta and how it has developed and changed over the years to its present state.”
On June 24, Lisa Duke, a U of C masters of ecology student specializing in aquatic ecology, will host an ecology tour of the park.
“This tour will allow people to walk through the park and get a great idea about all of the ecosystems of the park and how they fit together,” said Herriman. “It teaches you the way the vegetation and the animals and the insects rely on one another and are interrelated. If you’re curious about the building blocks of the ecosystem and the way things work, that’s a great tour to go on.”
On June 29, photographer Ken Wright will lead a guided photo tour of the park, where he will teach park users about shooting landscapes, composition, framing and utilizing different kinds of light.
“Because it’s from 8 to 11 (a.m.), the light changes a lot, so you learn how to work with different directions and intensities of light,” said Herriman. “The park is beautiful, so everybody leaves with fantastic photos.”
To register for events or for more information, visit www.grpf.ca/events
“Check the website often because we are adding events all the time,” said Herriman.