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The Value of Nodes and Links: A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park EVDP 626: Landscape Ecology and Planning December 9, 2016 By Pamela Downey (30025241) Kayla McCarthy (10174068)

Table of Contents 1.0 - Introduction......................................................................................................01 1.1 - Urban Parks...........................................................................................................................01 1.2 - Fish Creek Provincial Park.................................................................................................. 02 1.3 - Analysis..................................................................................................................................03

2.0 - Natural Features..............................................................................................04 2.1 - Water Bodies..........................................................................................................................04 2.2 - Topography............................................................................................................................04 2.3 - Vegetation...............................................................................................................................05 2.4 - Wildlife....................................................................................................................................06

3.0 - Nodes................................................................................................................07 3.1 - Residential Houses............................................................................................................... 07 Location #1 - McKenzie Lake Escarpment............................................................................................... 07 3.2 - Cultural Nodes...................................................................................................................... 09 Location #2 - Bow Valley Ranche and Annie’s Cafe................................................................................ 09 Location #3 - Sikome Lake.........................................................................................................................10 Location #4 - McKenzie Meadows Golf Course....................................................................................... 12 Location #5 - Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre......................................................................14

4.0 - Links.................................................................................................................16 4.1 - Walking Trails.........................................................................................................................16 Location #6 - Snake Hibernaculum Preservation Zone...........................................................................16 4.2 - Bike Paths...............................................................................................................................17 Location #7 - Douglasdale Baseball Diamonds........................................................................................18 4.3 - Accessibility...........................................................................................................................20 Location #8 - Votier’s Flats Entrance........................................................................................................ 20 4.4 - Roads......................................................................................................................................21 Location #9 - Macleod Trail.........................................................................................................................22

5.0 - Conclusions.....................................................................................................25 6.0 - Appendices.......................................................................................................26 6.1 - Appendix 1 - Sources............................................................................................................26 6.2 - Appendix 2 - Maps................................................................................................................ 30 6.3 - Appendix 3 - Images............................................................................................................. 31 6.4 - Appendix 4 - Figures.............................................................................................................32

A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

1.0 - Introduction 1.1 - Urban Parks Urban parks, public open space often dominated by vegetation and, or water (Konijnendijk, 2013), have been a vital element of city planning since the emergence of the profession in the late 19th Century. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the rapid urbanization of cities resulted in many public health concerns including poor sanitation, cramped living conditions, disease and temptation to vice. Thus at the time, urban parks and the natural landscape outside of the city were seen as a way to escape the “filth” of the inner city. It was the sentimentalization of nature which has ironically wrecked havoc on the natural landscape in the form of sprawling suburbs. Influential planning models such as the Garden City model and the Broadacre City model, created by Ebenezer Howard Map 1: Urban Parks in the City of Calgary and Frank Lloyd Wright (respectively), in the late 19th century, Fish Creek Provincial Park were predicated on drawing people out of the inner city to live City of Calgary Park Parcels in a natural, semi-rural landscape, the precursor to today’s “suburban development.” On the other hand, Frederick Law Olmsted, the pioneer of Landscape Architecture, had a slightly different focus, he recognized the importance of bringing nature back into the city in the form of parks. He saw the value of incorporating nature into the built urban environment as a space for reprieve, socialization and recreation. Urban parks provide a multitude of ecosystem services, the benefits humans derive from ecosystems (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). The cultural ecosystem services, benefits people obtain from ecosystems through recreation, reflection and aesthetic experiences (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005), have played a vital role in the establishment of urban parks, and continues to be one of the two main objectives promoted by Alberta Provincial Parks (Government of Alberta, 2009). The Environmental Movement and the Nature Conservation Movement’s of the 1960’s-1970’s introduced the second objective, environmental conservation (Hummel & James-Abra, 2016). During this time Scale 1:500,000 N the preservation of the natural environment was recognized 0 5 10 20 Km as a need for human survival (Hummel & James-Abra, 2016). Urban parks provide many ecosystem services, including gas and water regulation, air purification, wind and noise filtering, soil stabilization, microclimate regulation and carbon sequestration (Chiesura, 2004). With the recognition of the importance of the environment, environmental activist groups and associations, such as the National and Provincial Parks Association of Canada and Greenpeace were established in 1963 and 1971 respectively (Hummel & James-Abra, 2016). In Alberta, the Parks Act was amended in 1964 to expand the scope of the provincial park network to include wilderness and natural areas and the 1970’s saw a surge in Provincial Park development (Alberta Government, 2016). The ability of the Alberta Provincial Parks to achieve their two main objectives are dependent on the operational quality of the ecological and urban infrastructure present in and around the park (Government of Alberta, 2009). The network, both natural and urban requires connectivity and must balance the impact of the recreational aspects of the urban network, with the conservational aspects of the environmental network. Therefore the proper planning and management of the urban parks networks are of a strategic importance for increased quality of life in increasingly urban cities (Chiesura, 2004). For the purpose of this paper, Fish Creek Provincial Park located in Calgary, Alberta, has been chosen as a case study. A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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1.2 - Fish Creek Provincial Park Located in South Calgary, Fish Creek Provincial Park (FCPP) is identified as one of Canada’s largest urban parks, at 3,330 acres, it is completely within the city limits. It was officially opened as a provincial park in 1975, however it’s story begins nearly one hundred years earlier. The first European settler, John Glenn, arrived in the area in the late 1800s. He established a successful farm in the Bow Valley and opened up his doors to travellers passing through the area. In 1896, William Roper Hull purchased the farm from Glenn and established a ranching operation, which was soon sold to Patrick Burns in 1902 (Robertson, 1991). Several other ranching and agricultural operations were established in the area by James Voitier, Joseph Shannon, Nelson Bebo and others. Many areas in FCPP today are named in recognition of these early settlers (Robertson, 1991, p. 55-60). As early as 1938 the environmental value of the Fish Creek Valley was recognized yet “it wasn’t until 1966 that city planners proposed a park for the area, [and] the Fish Creek Park Association was formed to do the groundwork” (Robertson, 1991, p. 68). In 1972, the land was purchased by the provincial government, from 1972 to 1975, a budget was granted, public engagement was executed with the surrounding areas to determine park programming, and construction was underway. Premier Peter Lougheed officially opened the park in 1975 the park and construction of amenities such as Sikome Lake was complete by 1983 (Robertson, 1991). During the 1970’s and 1980’s, FCPP was technically contained within the City of Calgary limits, however, the park was still located on the outskirts of the built city form and suburbanization would not completely surround the park until the mid-1980’s to early 1990’s. Today, FCPP is completely surrounded by suburban developments, including houses, roads, and golf courses. The park itself, supports more than three million visitors per year (Jarvie, 2016), providing recreational infrastructure such as walking and cycle paths, information centres, educational facilities, Sikome Lake, Annie’s Café and Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant. FCPP is a valuable recreational resource in Calgary, Alberta and Canada. According to the Survey of Albertans Priorities for Provincial Parks, FCPP was the second most visited Alberta Provincial Park in the past three years (2008, p.11) and “Albertans’ feel the top priority for Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation should be to set aside more land and leaving it in an undisturbed state. Maintenance of existing facilities was the second highest overall priority” (The Praxis Group, 2008, p.5). The city has grown up around FCPP and the popularity of the park continues to grow, therefore exerting more pressure and strain on the natural ecosystems preserved within the park. As these demands continue to grow, the identification of the value of urban infrastructure within and around FCPP is crucial to identify and implement strategies to properly manage the balance of the recreational and conservational objectives of the park.

Image 1: Park signage A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

Image 2: Park signage

Image 3: Park signage Page 02

1.3 - Analysis The following study will analyze nine locations within Fish Creek Provincial Park and the adjacent suburban developments as delineated in Map 2. The intention of this report will be to assess the value of the urban network within the study area in respect to the benefits, costs and risks the network brings to the FCPP. A network is comprised of a series of nodes connected by links, essentially, nodes are destinations and links are the route (Galpern EVDP 626 Lecture, Nov 29, 2016). The constructed urban features within a natural park (nodes) are intended to attract people to the park and provide access. However, in order for this infrastructure to be worthwhile, the environmental impact must be as minimal as possible and the recreational benefits must outweigh the construction and maintenance costs (both environmentally and financially). This balance is subject to change as the urban and natural environments alter over time, potentially risking a decrease in benefits or increase in the natural disturbance that reduces the overall value of the park. The analysis for the urban network is broken down by location, each of node and link will be assessed by the spatial dialectic of each location. Answering the questions: how do the natural features influence the urban infrastructure and human use? And, how does the urban infrastructure influence the ecological integrity and conservational objectives of the location? This dialogue will determine the overall value the urban network brings to the recreational and conservational objectives of Fish Creek Provincial Park.

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Image 4: Park signage



Fish Creek Provincial Park Urban Network

1 2 Map 2: Area of Interest: Fish Creek Provincial Park and Surrounding Area Fish Creek Provincial Park Adjacent Park or Green Space City of Calgary Major Roads N

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Nodes 1 - McKenzie Lake Escarpment 2 - The Ranche + Annie’s 3 - Sikome Lake 4 - Golf Course 5 - Environmental Learning Centre Links 6 - Shannon Terrace Trails 7 - Douglasdale Bike Paths 8 - Votier Flats Entrance 9 - Macleod Trail Road

Image 5: South Calgary (Google Earth Pro,2016) A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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2.0 - Natural Features 2.1 - Water Bodies Water has played an important role in the formation of FCPP and continues to change the landscape to this day. Map 3 depicts the water bodies in the park and it is clear that the boundaries are characterized by the water bodies they surround. The park boundaries form a buffer around Fish Creek and the Bow River, in some areas directly on the river’s edge and in others up to a kilometer from it. The presence of this water has a large impact on the ecosystem services of the area and continues to shape the physical landscape of the valley. Both Fish Creek and the Bow River vary their water levels in a regular pattern throughout the year due to their proximity to the mountains and glacial run-off.

Image 6: Bow River 2016

Map 3: Waterbodies Study Area Bow River Fish Creek Other Waterbodies Floodway Flood Fringe N

Image 7: Fish Creek 2016

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Image 8: Bow River 2013

In addition, as the water bodies have matured, they have established significant meanders back and forth throughout the valley, creating wide oxbows and impacting the floodplain of the valley. Throughout history the Bow River has experienced frequent flooding, and since the construction of the Ghost Dam in 1929 and the Bearspaw Dam in 1954 (Robertson, 1991), the most significant flooding occurred in 2005 and again in 2013. The Bow River water level rose to cover large portions of Calgary and FCPP, damaging much of the natural environment and constructed urban infrastructure in the process. The presence of water is a major cultural attraction within the park and adds extensive environmental value, however the unpredictable nature of water poses a major risk to the integrity of the urban and ecological infrastructure. Therefore, the unpredictable character of water is an important consideration when planning for connectivity within the environmental and urban network of FCPP and the surrounding area.

2.2 - Topography Glacial movement and melt water, have carved the valleys of Fish Creek and the Bow River over multiple glacial periods, extending over 2 million years ago. Evidence of these multiple movements can be seen in the geological formations and types of rock found in different areas throughout FCPP. “The molding of the landscape begun by the glaciers has been continued by Fish Creek. Since glacial meltwaters carved out the valley, the creek has softened some of the contours and added other features to the valley floor” (Robertson, 1991, p.19). Over time, water has created the distinct topography and landscape of FCPP. Map 4 delineates how the boundaries of the park follow the natural boundary created by the steep slopes A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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and align with the topographical “top” of the valley. The elevation gained averages twenty metres park from the valley floor to the top of the ridge in FCPP (GIS calculation). The topography and subsequent elevation gain offers the houses at the top of the ridges panoramic views of the city and of the Rocky Mountains. However, the presence of urban infrastructure, has the potential to diminish the soil stability of the slopes. This instability causes erosion and damage to both the natural environment and urban features. Locations and strategies must be identified in order to mitigate these risks.

Image 9: Douglasdale path

Image 10: Votier’s Flats Map 4: Topography Area of Interest 5m Contour Lines Building Footprints N

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Image 11: Votier’s Flats

2.3 - Vegetation Fish Creek Provincial Park is a natural landscape in which a variety of plant species thrive. Due to lack of available GIS data, the vegetative analysis has been determined through a combination of aerial photography, site visits and literature review. Map 5 depicts the analysis with an aerial photograph laid within the study area and outlines four categories of vegetation; Grasslands, Parkland, Riverine Forest and White Spruce Forest (Alberta Government, 2016). The grasslands are found on dry, south-facing slopes of the valley and the valley bed, primarily in the east end of the park where much of the valley was historically cultivated for agricultural or ranching purposes (Alberta Government, 2016). Today however, the grasslands are largely dominated by the Awnless Brome Grass species and scattered with wildflowers and small shrubs (Alberta Government, 2016). Parkland dominates the edge of the floodplains in FCPP where the soil is moist (Alberta Government, 2016). Parkland, consists of tall, thick shrubs such as, Wild Rose, Chokecherry and Wolf Willow, and the trembling aspen tree flourishes here as well (Alberta Government, 2016). The banks of the Bow River and Fish Creek support the riverine forests, a mix of tall shrubs, balsam poplar, trembling aspen and white spruce, all species who like to keep their feet wet (Alberta Government, 2016). Finally, the White Spruce Forest is found primarily on north-facing slopes and at the west end of the park where the narrow, steep topography shades the surface providing cooler temperatures and greater moisture retention than the wider east end of the park (Robertson, 1991). The strong dominance of native species in FCPP shows resiliency of the natural landscape through its ability to rejuvenate itself. However, the history of cultivation in the park was a massive disturbance to the ecosystem both in the act clearing the land for agricultural and ranching purposes as well as the introduction of invasive plant species such as the nodding thistle. Neighbouring houses and roads also pose a threat to the integrity of the native plant species in the park, as seeds are carried on the wind or animals into the area, potentially introducing other invasive species. A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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Image 12: Park views

Map 5:Vegetation City Park Maintained Turf City Parks Residential Development Grassland (50%) Park Lands (35%) Riverine Forest (12%) White Spruce Forest (3%) N

Image 13: Shannon Terrace

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Image 14: Bow Valley Ranch

Also included and considered in the study area, is the buffer between the provincial park boundary and the private property. This area varies between a continuation of the natural landscape, minimally maintained City spaces that are generally short mowed grasses, and carefully cultivated areas such as parks or sports fields. Mowed grass is not restricted to outside the park however, as mentioned above, the grasslands dominate approximately half of the vegetation in FCPP (Robertson, 1991). The Awnless Bromegrass species, a sister species to hay, is excellent for pasture, however since the valley is no longer home to a large head of cattle the grass is not getting kept at bay, posing a great fire risk in the hot, dry summers. The edges of all paved paths within the park are also mowed to keep the trails clear of debris for trail uses and mitigate the fire risk. Moreover, mowed areas of the park provide the necessary habitats for the ground squirrel, the grasslands most common resident (Robertson, 1991).

2.4 - Wildlife The mix of vegetation provides a variety of habitats for many wildlife species within FCPP. This is both an attraction and a concern for the park due to the variable interaction between human and animal. The park is adamant about ensuring both animal and human safety, posting signage at each entrance to the park, and information on their websites, informing park users to keep their distance, respect, do not feed and do not approach the wildlife. Many individuals go to the park to see animals and take part in activities such as bird watching. The Bow Valley Visitor Centre provides a checklist of over 200 bird species to watch for in the park including the Great Horned Owl, Blue Heron, hawks, falcons, sparrows, the meadowlark and many more (Alberta Government, 2016). Through conservational efforts of the park, the numbers of beavers in the area have also been steadily increasing in the park. Beaver dams created are critical to maintain a healthy fish population, the deeper pools created allow fish population to grow. These ponds are crucial to many fish species that also live in the Bow River, such as the Longnose and White Sucker fish, as they spawn in Fish Creek (Robertson, 1991). However important, beavers can be seen as a nuisance felling trees in areas meant for human use such as picnic areas and near walking trails. To mitigate the risk of fallen trees in these areas and to co-exist with the beavers, the base of trees near trails and picnic areas are wrapped in wire to protect the tree, as shown in Image 15. As mentioned above, the grasslands provide a home to the ground squirrel, as well as many other creatures such as mice and garter snakes. The easy mobility through the grasslands has lead to the creation of many unofficial walking trails, which has necessitated the implementation of three Preservation Zones within FCPP. These zones protect critical habitats such as snake hibernaculum habitats (Alberta Government, 2016). The variety of habitats A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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supported by the vegetation in FCPP provides the perfect ecotone habitat to support both White-tail Deer and Mule Deer (Image 16). The deer spend their days in the forested areas and venture into the grasslands at dawn and dusk, they can often be sited in the Shannon Terrace area, near the Bow Valley Ranche and in the Poplar Island Preservation Zone. Many deer go to Poplar Island to have their fawns, as is it a large area that is safe to leave their fawns while they forage for food. However Macleod trail bisects the park between the Bow Valley Ranche area and Poplar Island, and is now one of the major wildlife mortality hotspots within Calgary (Zink, 2014). Other animals that are often hit on this major road are coyotes, which are a common species within FCPP (Alberta Government, 2016).

Image 15: Protective wire on tree

Image 16: Deer

Image 17: Eagle

Image 18: Muskrat

Image 19: Pelicans

Image 20: Squirrel

3.0 - Nodes 3.1 - Residential Houses The characterization of an urban park as “urban” entails some element of being connected to or surrounded by urbanization. At its time of establishment (1975), FCPP was not closely surrounded by urbanization, until the 1990’s. Today, it is completely surrounded by urbanization, the majority of which consists of detached, single family residential houses. The location of the houses is influenced by the legal land ownership of the park boundary, proximity to the river and slope stability. Location #1 - McKenzie Lake Escarpment The Douglasdale and McKenzie Lake Escarpment is located on the eastern end of the natural area, outside of the official FCPP boundary, as depicted in Map 6. The area was selected because it effectively captures benefits of living adjacent to a natural park area: the scenic views and access to the bike path network. However, it is also an area that demonstrates significant risks to the urban and natural environment through erosion. Map 6 shows the placement of the houses atop a steep slope directly adjacent to the Bow River, and Image 21 shows clear signs of erosion, risking the structural stability of many homes. The benefit of the scenic views to the mountains and river, made possible by this high location, are offset by the long term risks of ground instability. The 2007 Environmental Reserve setback guideline, is a buffer established to push construction away from dangerous slopes and to mitigate or delay the risk of landslides and erosion is displayed in Map 6. However, over 100 houses are standing within it limits in this area alone. In addition, the bike path is located directly on the edge of this ridge, decreasing ground permeability in the area and moving water directly onto the slope itself. The financial benefits of housing development, and benefits of A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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Map 6: Location 1 McKenzie Lake Escarpment Residential Development Environmental Reserve Setback Guideline (2007) 2m Contour Lines Bow River


Image 22: Closed for repairs

Exacerbating the problem is the destruction of vegetation along the slope below the houses. Vegetation is an effective mitigation to erosion as the roots of plants encourage soil stabilization by literally holding the soil in place and covering the exposed soil to avoid it washing away with precipitation. However, in this area, residents frequently create foot paths along the slope in order to reach the river’s edge. These footpaths trample the vegetation and leave open patches of soil to be easily eroded from water. A number of methods have been employed in the past that can be utilized here, including fence barriers at the ends of trails to discourage use, or recognizing the utility of the route and installing infrastructure such as a paved path or steps. In this specific location, given the instability of the slope, blocking use altogether is recommended, however, as seen in Image 24, sometimes these methods are not effective deterrents.

Image 24: Restricted access fence

Overall, sloped topography is an unavoidable feature that must be accommodated in urbanization, especially in the City of Calgary, located in the foothills. Simple steps can be taken to mitigate the risk of erosion including increasing setback buffer areas, slope

Scale 1:10,000 0



Image 21: Bank erosion

Image 23: Pathway maintenance A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

ecosystem services could be immediately offset in the event of a large landslide. In fact, The City has already spent $4.4 million in recent years stabilizing the slope in this area, and “recovered $3.8 million of that from the province’s Disaster Recovery Program (DRP)” (Dippel, 2015). A 3.5km portion of the bike path in this area has been closed due to “unsafe slope conditions along the Bow River [and] the remediation work includes stabilizing the pathway and area at the top of the slope where the pathway has collapsed” (City of Calgary, 2016) (Image 22). However, in many cases these repairs are simply solving the simplest problem and not mitigating the underlying risk, as shown in Image 23.

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stabilization strategies, and the planting and maintenance of vegetation. Unfortunately, the construction of the houses and the bike paths prevent retroactive action for mitigation, the infrastructure is already there. Therefore, slope reinforcement is the most feasible and cost effective slope erosion mitigation strategy at this time.

3.2 - Cultural Nodes There are a variety of cultural destinations located within the boundaries of FCPP, including destinations for education, information, recreation and nourishment. Each node has a different function within the park and their impact on the natural environment varies from the physical construction and form of the facility to their capacity to draw users into the area. Although these services are intended to provide an overall benefit to the users of the provincial park, impacts on and from the environment have the capacity to diminish this value over time. Four cultural nodes have been selected and will be analyzed below, in relation to the risks to and from the environment these facilities pose, and the value of these nodes as part of the urban network of FCPP and the surrounding area. Location #2 - Bow Valley Ranche and Annie’s Cafe The Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant and Annie’s Café have a long history within the park, built in 1896 as a Ranch and Forman’s house (respectively) they were recognized as historically significant nearly 100 years later. In 1995, a local Calgarian couple, Larry and Mitzie Wasyliw recognized the value of the ranch and established the Ranche at Fish Creek Restoration Society, with the goal of restoring the ranch to it’s original splendor (The Ranche at Fish Creek Restoration Society, 2016).

Bow Bottom Tr

dge D kri

The Ranche House restoration was completed in 1999 and The Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant was opened as a fine dining restaurant in 2000. The Ranche House exudes an elegant country atmosphere and attracts people into the park to experience the culture of a past era. The Bow Valley Map 7: Location 2 - Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant is open year round for Ranche and Annie’s Cafe lunch and dinner during the weekdays and Residential Development brunch and dinner on the weekends. The Roads restaurant serves approximately 10,000 Paved Pathways people per year through their reservations 2m Contour Lines (Fukan, Personal Correspondence, Dec Fish Creek 6, 2016) It is also a popular wedding Pa r and corporate event venue, hosting approximately 170 events in 2016 alone (Fukan, Personal Correspondence, Dec rS E 6, 2016). The majority of weddings are booked in the summer months and the corporate events are mainly corporate Bow Valley Ranche Annie’s Café Christmas and New Years events in the winter. The Forman’s House was refurbished in Artisan Gardens 1997 and opened as Annie’s Bakery and Parking Lots Café. Annie’s is opened seasonally due to weather and promotes itself as the “... perfect place for a break, whether you’re going solo or with your whole family” (Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, 2016). Scale 1:10,000 N For approximately two thirds of the year 0.125 0 0.75 0.5 Km Annie’s Café is open serving hot or cold ail SE

A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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Image 25: Bow Valley Ranche

Image 26: Artisan Gardens

beverages and baked goods Monday to Thursday from 9AM to 6PM and Friday to Sunday from 9AM to 7PM (Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, 2016). The casual atmosphere of Annie’s Café, provides the perfect place to meet, start or finish a trip through FCPP whether on foot on cycling, and serves approximately 100,000 people per year (Fukan, Personal Correspondence, Dec 6, 2016). As shown in Map 7, Annie’s Café acts as a node connection on the FCPP pathway network during the months of the year when it is open, it closed for the 2016 season on November 6, 2016. Both facilities can be accessed by motor-vehicles via Bow Bottom Trail SE, or by cycling or on foot, via the FCPP’s extensive pathway system. The seasons impacts individuals mobility preferences however, during the summer months, due to the location within the park, approximately 90% of the people using the pathway system, whether on foot or bicycle, will stop at the café (Fukan, Personal Correspondence, Dec 6, 2016). However, most summer reservations made at the restaurant, all events hosted at the ranch house, and 90% of the winter patrons arrive via automobile (Fukan, Personal Correspondence, Dec 6, 2016). Annie’s Café and The Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant function as nodes along the FCPP pathway network, as shown on Map 7. They are destinations within the park that draw people into the park and encourage a longer stay. This attraction adds value to the park as it provides a destination, it provides a point of reference for the beginning, end or stopping point along a day trip within the park, as well as providing facilities from which to enjoy the park for different functions. They are accessible by multiple mobility options, due to their location along the park’s pathway network and by the Calgary road network. Without Annie’s Café and the Bow Valley Restaurant, FCPP would lack 110,000 people per year, the people who care for the park’s best interests and ensure the continuity of the cultural legacy that is the Ranche House and Foreman’s House. The amount of people these venues attract does put strain on the natural ecosystem however, the cultural ecosystem services that Annie’s Café and the Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant provide add value to the park. Moreover, their hours of operation suggest the times of the day and days of the week the park is being used. The seasonality and early closing hours of Annie’s Café in particular provide clues of when the parks pathway system is most used, shedding light on the opportunity for increased winter programming along the pathways such as the creation of a cross country ski track, which could increase the year round value of the pathway system. Annie’s Café and the Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant are significant nodes in the FCPP Network, positively adding value to the park by bringing people inside the boundary and encouraging their use of the parks pathway system. Location #3 - Sikome Lake In the early 1970’s when FCPP was going through it’s initial planning and design phases, a survey was administered to neighbouring community members inquiring as to what they would like in the new Provincial Park. Calgarians responded requesting a place for swimming that was open to the general public. Responses also included picnic areas, skating, and cross-country skiing. The design of Sikome Lake would satisfy all these requests, and in 1978 Sikome Lake officially opened as a recreational destination (Robertson, 1991, p. 68-69). A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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Map 8: Location 3 - Sikome Lake Sikome Lake 2m Contour Lines Middle Riparian Zone Outer Riparian Zone Outermost Riparian Zone

Bo w Bo tt o


Tra i

lS E

The negative impact felt by the park started before Sikome Lake was opened however, with the destruction of 9.5 acres of natural vegetation required to hold the artificial lake alone. (Alberta Environment and Parks, 2015). As depicted in Map 8, the lake is located in an outer riparian zone, a crucial habitat for flood mitigation strategies and erosion prevention. Therefore In addition, the facility contains several parking lots and roads around the lake which have been known to fill up, prompting the use of additional overflow parking lots (Alberta Parks, n.d.), thus increasing the environmental impact in the form of noise, vehicle pollution and large hard paved surface lots.



The water for the lake is supplied from three freshwater wells and an on-location water treatment plant constantly treats the water (Alberta Parks, n.d.). This should ensure good water quality, however due to water quality issues in the early years of the facility, a plastic membrane was installed below the sand in 1988 (and replaced in 2007) and water quality testing increased E eS ircl to every 8 days instead of every 20 (Alberta C e om Sik Parks, n.d.). Chemical treatment was also initiated to prevent algae growth and bacteria (Alberta Environment and Parks, 2015)(Brooker, 2013). The water quality Scale 1:10,000 N treatment and maintenance is expensive, 0.125 0 0.75 0.5 Km according to Jim Stomp, FCPP’s site manager, “Sikome Lake costs $300,000 a year to operate� (Brooker, 2013). In addition to the extensive costs of water quality maintenance, the lake itself was damaged in the 2005 flood, closing the facility for several weeks (Brooker, 2013). A berm was installed to the east of the lake, and fortunately, this prevented damaged during the 2013 flood (Alberta Environment and Parks, 2015). e R oa d SE

Despite the costs of maintaining this facility, the site has been a valued attraction for Calgarians for nearly forty years and attracts up to 200,000 visitors each year (Duncan, 2016). However, the overall value of this facility has changed drastically over time, from year to year and even day to day, with changes in operations and the surrounding environment. With respect to the extensive use of the facility, it was originally constructed with the intention of supporting both summer and winter activities including swimming in the summer, and tobogganing and skating in the winter. Unfortunately, the construction of a fence around the site in 2007, intended to keep out unwanted after-hours activities, meant the elimination of tobogganing on the hill to the west of the lake (Alberta Environment and Parks, 2015). In addition, the use of the facility for skating in the winter ceased in the mid-1990s. Today, Sikome Lake is open approximately 80 days per year from late June to early September, 10am-7:30pm daily (weather dependent) (Alberta Parks, n.d.), and sits unactivated and underutilized for the remaining 285 days of the year. A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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Furthermore, the summer use was significantly impacted in 2016 with the addition of user fees, intended to generate funds to support expensive refurbishment plans and overall maintenance costs. The addition of user fees (along with poor weather) caused an attendance drop to “61,169 users through the gates by season end,” down from previous yearly numbers around 200,000 (Jarvie, 2016). The user fees generated are intended to supplement the costs of upgrading buildings throughout FCPP “due to safety concerns and a desire to curb undesirable behaviour” (Jarvie, 2016). The upgrade costs are currently budgeted between $60,000 and $100,000 and will prioritize the washroom and shelter facilities throughout the park (Jarvie, 2016). Taking into consideration the impacts on the surrounding environment and vegetation, and the qualitative perception of value from Calgary users of the facility, it can be concluded that in recent years, the balance of overall value has shifted to the negative. Although originally constructed to provide value to the people of Calgary year round, the elimination of any use for the majority of the year, and a financial deterrent to summer use, suggests that the value of this facility is no longer justified against the negative environmental impacts that it imposes. It is recommended that in order to rejustify the environmental and financial costs of this facility, updates should be made to the design to reintroduce year round use, and to improve summer attendance. Figure 1 highlights updates to the landscape architecture of the lake, including revegetation around the lake with native plant species. The reintroduction of winter programming such as skating and the implementation of a cross-country ski track would provide year round motivation to use the facility and provide further opportunities for funds for the park from ski and skate rental user fees. These recommendations would improve the sense of place, year round attendance and make Sikome Lake a destination for all Calgarians and increase the value this particular node brings to the FCPP urban network. Location #4 - McKenzie Meadows Golf Course

RECOMMENDATIONS The Bow Valley Ranche and Annie’s: Improved nonvehicular access Sikome Lake Skating Rink Cross Country Ski Track Constructed Wetland Storm Water Pond Parking Lot Removal McKenzie Meadows Golf Course Tree/Shrub Planting

Figure 1: Recommendations (Kayla McCarthy, 2016) A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

(Google Earth Pro, 2016)

The McKenzie Meadows Golf Course, located within the boundaries of FCPP (Alberta Parks, n.d.), was opened in 1996. Golf courses by design take up large portions of the natural landscape and replace it with carefully cultivated grasses which are significantly less supportive of biodiversity than native grasses and vegetation. McKenzie Meadows is no exception, the course cover approximately 147 acres of natural area(Calculations derived from Google Earth Pro). In addition, the maintenance of this artificial landscape requires extensive watering and the use of herbicides and pesticides, which can harm wildlife and pollute adjacent water bodies (Adler, 2007)(Beyond Pesticides, n.d.). Given the grade of the slope to the east and proximity of the Bow River to the West Page 12

Map 9: Location 4 - McKenzie Meadows Golf Course McKenzie Meadows Golf Course 2m Contour Lines Residential development Floodway Flood Fringe

rail ey T Ston

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(as shown in Map 9), it can be assumed that contaminated water runoff from the golf course flows into the Bow River, compromising the ecological integrity. Strategies to minimize the environmental impacts of golf courses has been claimed to include: maintaining significant native vegetation and practicing chemical free maintenance (Beyond Pesticides, n.d.). Unfortunately, the site was cleared completely of the diversity of native plants and as can be seen in Image 27, the golf course is bordered by many trees, however the course itself hosts very few trees and shrubs of which are very fragmented. Finally, the physical impact of the golf balls themselves often range much further then the boundary of the course, often landing in the Bow River impacting fish habitat and posing a risk to users of the adjacent bike path. In addition to the form and functioning of the golf course under normal conditions, as shown in Map 9, the location of the golf course in the floodplain is a major flood risk in and of itself. Evidently, the 2013 flooding of the Bow River had a significant impact on McKenzie Meadows Golf Course, submerging large portions of it completely under water, as seen in image 28. The flood damage included the destruction of 16 out of the 18 hole golf course, the irrigation system and extensive damage to the buildings on site, closing it the course for repairs from June 2013 to May 2014 (Gilbertson, 2015). Not only did the flood wreck havoc on the built landscape of the golf course, it also deposited large amounts of sediment and debris from other sites upriver on the course, adding to the overall carnage on the site.

This begs the question of whether the scenic views of the park and Bow River provided at this location, are worth the risk? This risk to the devaluation of the golf course as a form of urban infrastructure lies in negative environmental impacts and the financial costs of past and potential damages to the course. Assuming the course location and general layout cannot be altered at this time, several risks can be mitigated through the addition of trees and shrubs. Figure 1 shows planting along the north and western edges of the N




A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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Image 27: McKenzie Meadows Golf Course

Image 28: McKenzie Meadows Golf Course during 2013 flood

course which provides a barrier to golf balls moving past the course boundaries to the pathway and river. Additionally, vegetation would provide erosion control in the event of a flood, possibly reducing course damages. Finally, trees would enhance the natural beauty of the course, impacting user attendance and enjoyment. Thoughtfully selected and planted, additional vegetation could mitigate most, if not all, risks associated with this site and add to the overall value the golf course brings to the urban network of FCPP and the surrounding area. Location #5 - Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre (FCELC) is a “Nature school that hosts students in science education from Calgary and area schools” (Alberta Government, 2016). An educational destination that provides 20 different programs that progress from Kindergarten through to Grade 12, the majority of which are science based, environmental, outdoor education programs. Figure 2 provides a summary of the different programs offered through the FCELC. The centre runs approximately 125 dates per academic year for the Elementary school program and thirty-five for the Junior-High and High School programs (Kirzinger, Personal Correspondence, Dec 6, 2016). Approximately 14,105 students participated in the programs offered during the 2016 calendar year, from 180 different schools from the Calgary Board of Education, Calgary Separate School Division, Rockyview School Division and various private schools in the area (Kirzinger, Personal Correspondence, Dec 6, 2016). The learning centre may host one to six classes per day, containing 25-35 students per class, plus teachers and chaperones (Kirzinger, Personal Correspondence, Dec 6, 2016). Moreover, additional public events and speaker series are hosted at the FCELC including “Star Night,” Figure 2: (Pamela Downey, 2016) a popular astronomy event in A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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Map 10: Location 5 and Location 6 Shannon Terrace Roads Suburban Development

the Spring and Fall that attracts 200-800 participants per year (Kirzinger, Personal Correspondence, Dec 6, 2016)

Paved Pathways

The educational opportunities offered at FCELC are extensive, and as society 2m Contour Lines shifts to acknowledge the value and Fish Creek importance of urban parks for both their recreational and conservational purposes, facilities such as FCELC provide opportunities to learn about, appreciate and care for the natural world. However, the growing popularity of outdoor education programs and overall park use is a double edge sword, because with Parking Lot increased use, comes increased strain on the park’s natural ecosystems. FCELC has grown strategically, implementing many sustainable elements into their built facility, such as a green roof. It needs to continue to grow strategically to mitigate the risks of increased use and continue to increase the knowledge about the importance Parking Lots Parking Lot of park conservation. Therefore, as urbanization continues to grow and fragment the natural landscape, it is Fish Creek Environmental imperative to plan for parks. It is vital for Learning Centre (Location #5) the continued protection of Alberta Parks, Snake Hibernaculum Preservation Zone including FCPP, that the education of (Location #6) youth continues to grow and facilities such as Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre are at the crux of this education. Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre adds immensely to the value of the park, 0.75 0.5 Km providing a knowledge base to thousands of students in the Calgary area about the importance of ecosystem preservation and conservation. Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre is: “... a feather if Fish Creek Park’s cap” (Robertson, 1991, p. 73). Granular Pathways


ath dp oo



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All five locations discussed above are nodes within and surrounding Fish Creek Provincial Park. They serve as destinations for a specific purpose, whether it is recreational, cultural, educational or a home. Nodes relate to each other when links connect them, these links create a network. The two main objectives of Alberta Provincial Parks, according to the Government of Alberta, is to provide recreational opportunities for people and promote environmental conservation (April, 2009). The section below analyzes the value of links based on these two objectives within the Fish Creek Provincial Park urban network. Image 29: Environmental Learning Centre A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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4.0 - Links 4.1 - Walking Trails The walking trail network of FCPP is over eighty kilometres in length, consisting of thirty kilometres of paved pathways and fifty kilometres of shale (granular) pathways (Alberta Government, 2016). The park plows the paved paths of snow during the winter to enable year round access and use of the extensive trail network. An additional fourteen kilometres of single track, maintained by the “Trail Care Program” by the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society (Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society, 2015), can be added to the network, bringing the total up to over 94 kilometres in the pathway network. These trails are the links between nodes within the park and should be strategically placed in functional locations to ensure their sustainability. However, humans have a tendency to take the most direct path to their destination, regardless of whether or not there is a designated pathway. As the city has grown around the park, residences that back onto the park provide many unofficial access points into the park, which lead to the creation of unofficial trails. These trails increases the permeability of the park, increases the number of links between nodes and potentially increases the links to and use of the official pathway system, which adds connectivity to the overall network. Yet, these unofficial trails tend to transform into “official trails,” because with increased use, the trampled vegetation erodes away, hardening into a compact dirt path. Moreover, with the increased popularity of cycling in the park, repeated descents down the steep slopes of the valley with locked brakes, quickly tears up the soil and vegetation. This creates serious erosion and safety hazards as well as damaging vegetation and disturbing wildlife (Friends of Fish Creek Park, 2013). Location #6 - Snake Hibernaculum Preservation Zone

Image 30: Snake Hibernaculum Preservation Zone

Image 31: Snake information sign A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

FCPP has attempted to balance the environmental concerns and the recreational needs of the people who use the park (Alberta Government, 2016) and address the issue of “off-roading” in two primary ways. First, the park urges people to stay on the designated paths with copious amounts of signage in the park. Secondly, the park has closed three major “Preservation Zones,” that do not allow human entry into the areas. One such zone is the Snake Hibernaculum Preservation Zone at Shannon Terrace within FCPP, displayed on Map 10 and Image 30. Garter snakes the most common snakes in Alberta, are considered indicator species of the health of their home ecosystem (Alberta Government, 2016). Garter snakes hibernate in groups throughout the winter, at least one to three metres below ground in snake hibernacula, group wintering dens (Alberta Government, 2016). However, with increased erosion caused by unofficial trails, water flowing into the valley from the surrounding area would flow down the eroded path compacting the soil into hard pack. This process begins to eliminate the softer ground and the crevices through which snakes are able to enter their dens, leading to a decline in snake population within the park (Alberta Government, 2016). The Page 16

decline in snakes, reflects the decline in the health of the natural ecosystem as a result from increased “off-roading” walking and bicycle traffic within FCPP. The need for the Snake Hibernaculum Preservation Zone within a park attests to the increased usage of the park, which is a good sign, however it also attests to the increased degradation of natural ecosystem of the park. The preservation zone adds value to the park in two main ways: first it protects the crucial hibernation habitats necessary to maintain healthy levels of garter snake populations within the park. Secondly, the location of the Snake Hibernaculum (whether this was coincidental or not) close to the Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre is important for educational purposes. Walking trails contribute to the overall connectivity of the urban network within FCPP and surrounding areas, however they pose a great risk to the wildlife species and the natural landscape through increased frequent use by cyclists and people on foot. The necessity of the Snake Hibernaculum Preservation Zone reflects the lack of connection throughout the network and the poor quality of walkable access routes into the park. To balance the recreational and conservational objectives of the park, it is recommended that the park increase the access and connectivity of the pathway system into and within the park, maintain the heavily used unofficial pathways to deter the tendency to “offroad.” With recognition that “offroading” will most likely continue at some level, the incorporation many preservation zones such as the Snake Hibernaculum Preservation Zone should be emphasized within FCPP.

4.2 - Bike Paths The bike paths throughout the City of Calgary are a thorough and well utilized network, and can make the assertion that they are the ”most extensive urban pathway and bikeway network in North America”. In the late 1960s, Calgarians began envisioning a system of connected pathways on which they could travel throughout the city and access areas of unique natural beauty”(City of Calgary, 2016). The pathways began in Confederation Park and soon moved along the Bow and Elbow rivers, first as red shale, and soon later in asphalt. Today, The City of Calgary is still maintaining, updating and improving this network with additions like the Greenway and downtown cycle track (City of Calgary, 2016). As noted in the above section, there are 80 km of trails within FCPP and contains the Southwest connection link to the major Parks Foundation Project - the Rotary/Mattamy Greenway, under construction for $60 million, with a 2017 completion date. This greenway will be a 138 km continuous bike path and park network that encircles the city. (Parks Foundation Calgary, 2016) (Young, 2016). “When completed, the Greenway will be the longest urban pathway and park system in the world” (Parks Foundation Calgary, 2016). On both the city and park scale, connectivity of the network is a crucial element of its value. According to the Alberta Parks “Bikes in the Park” document “provincial protected areas are set aside to preserve Alberta’s plants and wildlife. Off-trail cycling can have devastating consequences on the landscape including: increased erosion, loss of natural vegetation, invasion of non-native plant species, and destruction of habitat” (Fish Creek Provincial Park, Alberta Parks, 2016). These negative effects of off-trail cycling mean that locating paths in areas that users will most likely remain on them is of great importance. As discussed above, if paths are located such that their use is inefficient, or incompatible with cycling, users will be prone to create paths of their own. This is also the case when the pathway system is not continuous, as users will find other routes to get to their destination. The location of paths also has a large impact on overall value, from qualitative and quantitative perspectives. Most prominently, the proximity to the river has a major impact on pathway, use, construction and maintenance. Although close proximity to the water provides a scenic view for users, the risk of flood damage to closely adjacent paths is a real concern. In the 2005 flood, about half of the parks bike paths were eroded away, seven pedestrian bridges were destroyed and seven others deemed unsafe (CBC News Canada, 2005). The 2013 flood saw additional damage to many of these paths and in some locations washed away entire sections of pathway and riverbank, thereby necessitating significant relocation (City of Calgary, 2016). The proximity to the river also impacts the maintenance burden as “Work in or near A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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the waterways is governed by several Provincial and Federal Acts, such as the Federal Fisheries Act, the Provincial Water Act and the Public Lands Act, and can only be completed during specific times of the year to not disturb fish habitat” (City of Calgary, 2016). Therefore, selective and sensitive placement of pathways have a significant impact on overall long term value they provide as a link. In addition to location and connectivity as an indication of value, quality of the pathway and burden of maintenance as a result of day-to-day use are also important factors to consider. Within the 80 km bike path network in FCPP, 30km are paved and 50km are shale (Alberta Government, 2016). These material selections present differences in user ease, susceptibility to damages and costs of repairs. Shale paths are dustier and can be more subject to erosion and warping of the trail surface due to precipitation. However, both installation costs and maintenance costs are lower (depending on frequency), and patch repairs are less visible. Asphalt is ideal for bicycle trails and is more durable, decreasing the long term maintenance costs (Day, 2014). However, initial installation is more expensive so total destruction of paths that may result from flooding is a costly form of “maintenance”. Finally, although FCPP is contained within The City of Calgary and connects to the larger network of paths in the city, it is located on Provincial land. Therefore regulation, construction and maintenance of the paths within park boundaries are completed by The Province of Alberta, and not the city (with some exceptions). This has a large impact on the timing and scale of repairs made, due to differences in proximity to the issues and budgetary priorities. Location #7 - Douglasdale Baseball Diamonds A location effectively displays the risks to bike paths due to location, material selection and impact on connectivity is at the Douglasdale entrance off of Douglas Park Blvd SE. This portion of the pathway network is located on the east side of the Bow River outside of the FCPP boundary, therefore under the jurisdiction of the City of Calgary. This portion of the Bow River experienced Map 11: Location 7 Douglasdale Bike Path Network significant damages and changes to its Bow River path in both the 2005 and 2013 floods. 2013 Floodway Large portions of the river bank, including 2013 Flood Fringe the bike path atop it were washed away. Pre-2013 Bike Paths As can be seen in Map 11, the GIS bike Post-2013 Path Updates path shape file indicates pre-2013 path locations, with post-2013 river placement, therefore several portions of the path appear to extend into the river itself. Dotted yellow lines indicate current pathway locations based on observation.


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A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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The extensive alterations to the river banks in this area in 2013 resulted in interruptions and discontinuity of the pathways for several years post-flood. This discontinuity meant cyclists and pedestrians utilizing the paths were required to find alternate routes as the bike path occasionally ended abruptly where it was washed away (as seen in Image 32), or was blocked with fencing for repairs, with alternate routes indicated on signage (as seen in Image 33). Occasionally pedestrians and cyclists utilized these alternate paths, but on Page 18

Image 32: Damaged path

Image 33: Path closure sign

Image 34: Bank reinforcement

Image 35: Displaced path

other occasions simply created their own paths through the vegetation directly adjacent, thus contributing to the destruction of vegetation and wildlife habitat, described in the previous section. Due to extensive repairs required in the City of Calgary as a result of the 2013 flood, the replacement of this section of the pathway was not completed until approximately one year later in 2014, and additional bank reinforcement was completed in the fall of 2016 to mitigate additional damages (as demonstrated in Image 34). Today, evidence of the floods destruction of infrastructure remains strewn around the park (Image 35). As human value of the bike path network as a link, is derived from safety and continuity, and environmental integrity is maintained through users remaining on the pathway system, avoidance of breaks in the network is of vital importance. This can be achieved through mitigating the flood risk, by locating pathways a safe distance from the river’s edge and reinforcing the river bank in strategic locations. Locating paths away from the river also helps to maintain the quality of biodiversity in areas directly adjacent to the river and strategic access points can limit human impact to fewer, more specific, areas, therefore increasing the resiliency of the river banks and floodplains. Overall, bike paths throughout the park are an effective means of access in, and throughout the park, with a much lower environmental impact than roads. Like all other forms of infrastructure discussed though, implementation can be practiced strategically in order to maximize human use and value, and minimize environmental impacts and economic costs.

Figure 3: (Alberta Parks, 2016) A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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4.3 - Accessibility To analyze the value of links and the strength of a network, accessibility is an important consideration. Accessibility is the ability to reach a node through a variety of mobility options (walking, cycling or driving) and the overall permeability of the park boundary. Quantitatively speaking, the number of “official” access points into FCPP, are noted in Figure 3 above and summarized in Figure 4. Using Geographic Information System (GIS) intersect tool, the number of points where a road or pathway intersects the FCPP boundary is 109. This includes the official access points listed and an additional 39 “unofficial” points of access. Another route of unofficial access is through the residential neighbourhoods, specifically the houses that have a backyard overlooking the park. When a fifty metre buffer was applied to the FCPP boundary, and building footprints in GIS, the number of houses that touch or lie within the buffer was be calculated: 1177 houses were within 50 metres of FCCP. Presuming individuals walk out their back gate and into the park, this increases the number of “unofficial” access points into FCPP. This calculation does extend to the entire first row of suburban development surrounding the park do to their being more than 50 metres away from the official border GIS shapefile, therefore it can be presumed that 1177 residences is a conservative calculation of the total number of unofficial access points into the park. Thus, FCPP has many official and unofficial access points that include a variety of mobility options (walking, cycling and vehicles), coupled with the fact the park has no entrance fee, the park is theoretically very accessible, adding a high value to the use of the park. However, when qualitative aspects of these access points are Figure 4: FCPP Access (Pamela Downey, 2016) (Alberta Parks, 2016) considered, the opposite is true. Location #8 - Votier’s Flats Entrance Votier’s Flats is the area of entry at the southern end of Elbow Drive. This entrance is one of four park entrances that is meant for vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle entry, as distinguished by the presence of a paved bicycle pathway on the side of the road. Additionally, Votier Flats is the only entrance to contain a City Transit Bus Stop. So theoretically it should be the most accessible entrance of the park. However, as depicted in Image 36, the structure and degradation of the road tell another story. The sidewalk and cycle path end halfway down the street forcing pedestrians and cyclists onto a thin road to continue into the park. The road is not only thin, but a sharp drop has been formed from erosion along the edges causing a severe risk to all travellers this intuitively tells drivers to driver closer to the middle of the road which does not allow space for two cars to pass by each other and a pedestrian at the same time. Additionally, the entrance is on a steep slope, a gain of 22 metres from the parking lot to the entrance from the community, ensuring that with the degraded road edges, degraded and abruptly ending sidewalk and bike path it is not truly “walkable.” Due to the qualitative evidence, it can be hypothesized that most people will not walk or cycle there despite the fact it is listed as a good access for all mobility options. To quantify this, on Saturday November 12th, from 2:00PM to 3:00PM, a physical count took place. Twenty-four vehicles were identified in the parking lot. Over the course of the hour two buses drove through the loop without stopping for anyone at the stop, 12 cars entered the parking lot, 4 cars exited the parking lot and no pedestrians or cyclists entered or exited the park via Elbow Drive, the Votier’s Flats official entrance. However, for every car that parked in the lot, one to four people exited and either began to walk or cycle on the pathway system. This is a very small sample in time, however it demonstrates that the Votier’s Flats entrance is auto-centric and does not promote walkability. The original structure and current state of dilapidation promote the use of vehicles to enter the park, in order to use the well maintained pathway A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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Map 12: Location 8 - Votier Flats Entrance Roads Suburban Development Paved Pathways Granular Pathways 2m Contour Lines Fish Creek Drive

El bo


r i ve`

Canyon M eadow s

network within the park boundaries. This increases the negative effects of motorized vehicles within the park boundaries and strain on the ecosystem. Moreover, the qualitative aspects of entrances need to be maintained in order to reduce the number of unofficial access points that may be created in lieu of a better official option. Therefore, to plan for the future of FCPP, the qualitative aspects of access points need to be considered in order to realistically promote the overall accessibility for multiple mobility options into the park.

Parking Lot


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Image 36: Votier’s Flats access point

4.4 - Roads Roads are an anthropogenically imposed corridor for both human and wildlife movement, providing access and connection throughout the city, an important link within the City of Calgary. However, roads also act as a significant barrier to wildlife crossings and a source of considerable traffic noise (Forman, 2014). Additionally, roads and the vehicles they support significantly contribute to many other negative ecological impacts, such as fragmentation, pollution, stormwater flows and pollutants, animal mortality rates, greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution. The impacts imposed on natural areas vary based on the roads width and the amount of traffic congestion it supports. Typically, the impacts of traffic disturbance (noise, vibration, light and pollution) extend over one kilometre from a multi-lane highway that supports over 30,000 vehicles per day (Forman, 2014). Figure 5 displays the average daily weekday traffic volume for the City of Calgary Roads in 2015 (City of Calgary, 2015). The figure depicts that majority of the major roads surrounding FCPP support over 30,000 vehicles per day on an average weekday, and therefore, utilizing the correlation above, the disturbance caused by these roads extends significantly into the park.

A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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Figure 4: The City of Calgary, 2015 Average Daily Weekday Traffic Volume. (City of Calgary, March 24, 2016).

Figure 5: The City of Calgary, 2015 Average Daily Weekday Traffic Volume. (City of Calgary, March 24, 2016).

Location #9 - Macleod Trail FCPP is surrounded by suburban infrastructure and is bisected by a major urban highway, Macleod Trail, fragmenting the park into a western and eastern sections as displayed in Map 13. Therefore when analyzing FCPP, road ecology, the interaction of roads and vehicles with soil, air, water, plants and animals (Forman, 2014), should be taken into consideration. Biodiversity is impacted by roads in four major ways: habitat loss, habitat degradation, animal mortality and the barrier effect disrupting connectivity and animal movement (Forman, 2014). Forman’s graph below (Figure 6), depicts the distance of these ecological impacts from either side of a road, extending from 2 metres up to 1000 metres on either side (Forman, 2014). Forman’s graph depicts three furthest reaching ecological impact from roads: first, habitat fragmentation, small populations and extinction risk, second, wildlife movement, corridor disruption and third, human access effects on species and ecosystems. This is especially significant when roads surround areas such as provincial parks, areas that have been designated as areas to protect. Macleod trail is designated by the City of Calgary as an urban corridor, it is a main route for daily Calgarian commuters to the downtown core. It is a 10 lane urban highway, extending over 70 metres in width, that bisects FCPP north to south, shown in Map 13 and Image 37. Macleod trail is a heavily depended on link A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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Map 13: Location 9 - Fish Creek Provincial Park Bisection, Macleod Trail and 1KM Buffer Macleod Trail Fish Creek Bisection: 98,000 Vehicles per Weekday (City of Calgary, 2015)

Roads Residential Development Paved Pathways

Macleod Trail Bisection 1 KM Buffer: 5.62 KM2 Fish Creek

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Image 37: Macleod Trail (Google Earth Pro, 2016)

by neighbourhoods to the south of the park as the main point of access into the centre of Calgary. As the city expanded southward the south the volume of traffic has increased and Macleod Trail is an effective bottleneck, as many commuters attempt to move northward through the park towards the downtown core. The particular segment that bisects the park, highlighted in red on Map 13, carried an average of 98,000 vehicles per weekday in 2015 (City of Calgary, 2015). Therefore this section of Macleod Trail is a heavily depended upon route, linking southern Calgarians to the city centre, providing a cultural service of connection to the human population in Calgary. Additionally, the overpass structure of the Macleod Trail in this section, attempts to mitigate flood risk and reduce the impact the road has on the fragmentation of the park and the disruption of wildlife movement. As shown in Image 38 , the traversable underpass within the park boundaries is approximately 30 metres wide, contains Fish Creek, the massive supports for the overpass and a paved pathway. Not an ideal wildlife corridor, therefore animal mortalities (roadkills) are commonly observed. Figure 6 reflects Roadkill “hot spots� within Calgary and this particular segment of Macleod trail is one of them. Many common urban animals such as mice, squirrels and rabbits are killed by vehicles, however the ecological impact this has upon these populations is relatively low due to their high reproductive rate (Forman, 2014). For slower reproducing animals such as deer, or any endangered species, the increased traffic and the associated roadkill risk, can have a significantly higher ecological impact on their populations (Forman, 2014). A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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Image 38: Beneath Macleod Trail

Figure 6: Distances of ecological effects from roads with vehicles. The horizontal boxes represent the approximate range of average and maximum distances from a road that significant ecological impacts were recorded (Forman, 2014, pp 279).

Image 39: Macleod Trail

Additionally, animal mortality is not the only way in which roads impact wildlife populations, roads also increase habitat loss due to road construction, degrade the adjoining habitat and create the barrier effect (Forman, 2014). If the impact of traffic disturbance based on 30,000 vehicles per day extends to over one kilometre, Map 13 depicts the area that a one kilometre buffer covers within the park, 5.62 km². The ecological impacts sustained on the surrounding ecosystem can be assumed to extend over triple the area as this section of Macleod Trail as it supports over 90,000 vehicles per day (City of Calgary, March 24, 2016). Unfortunately, the expansion of suburban development to the south of FCPP was not properly planned for with the provision of alternative routes connecting southern communities to the rest of the city, and many southern dwellers view the park as an obstacle in their daily commute into the city’s downtown.

Figure 7: Calgary Roadkill Hot Spots (Zink, 2014)

A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

Macleod Trail exerts massive strains on the ecological integrity of FCPP, exerting no positive environmental value to the park. However, in the role of a link, the road performs its job, providing the necessary connection for commuters to access downtown Calgary. Unfortunately the value this brings thousands of Calgarians will ensure the maintenance of the urban highway, despite its negative ecological and wildlife impacts. Page 24

5.0 - Conclusions Alberta Provincial Parks proclaim to have two main objectives: recreation and conservation (Government of Alberta, 2009). The ability of the parks to achieve these objectives however, hangs in the balance between them. This paper has analyzed the many risks and benefits of the nodes and links that comprise the Fish Creek Provincial Park urban network. Five nodes and four links were analyzed, with an emphasis on the risks and benefits they contribute to the recreational and conservational goals of the park. The construction of the links and many nodes within the park’s urban network reflect the time period of construction. In the 1970’s, the park was still on the outskirts of the city and was built as a destination for recreational purposes. However, Calgary has grown around the park, and today, in 2016, urbanization completely surround it. This increase in development and the associated increase in population in the area, places incrementally more strain on the ecological integrity of FCPP. It is recommended that in order to reduce the risks and increase the benefits associated with the urban network of FCPP, the network needs to be updated to accommodate changing recreational and conservation goals promoted by Calgary and Alberta. Some of the nodes analyzed are crucial to the sustainability of the park, such as the Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, Annie’s Café and the Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre. These nodes attract people into the park, educate them on the cultural and natural history of the park, balance both recreation and conservation, while maintaining their relative impacts on the natural ecosystems to a minimum. Therefore the value these nodes add to the park in their current state of operation outweighs their associated risks. The Douglasdale and McKenzie Lake Escarpment and McKenzie Meadows Golf course have fought, and continue to fight with nature in their maintenance. Fighting the effects of gravity on eroding slopes and fighting the wrath of floods. At this time however, as the infrastructure is already in place, stabilization strategies should be implemented in both scenarios. Slope stabilization techniques are currently being applied to the McKenize Lake Escarpment and will need continued maintenance to reduce the risk of landslides and slumping. Soil stabilization through the implementation of vegetation is recommended to mitigate future flood damage to McKenzie Meadows Golf Course. This will create a pseudo-riparian zone and help improve the resiliency of the golf course to changing water levels. The reality of Sikome Lake is that at its current operational state the facility costs too much to maintain, both financially and environmentally. The outright destruction of the natural ecosystem to input the lake cost the park 9.5 acres of critical riparian zone vegetation and the recreational use of the lake has decreased immensely. The value of Sikome Lake has been compromised, shrinking over time, however the reintroduction of natural vegetation and winter programming could begin to bring value back to the facility and to the parks urban network as a desirable node. The value of a network is based on its node connectivity through links. The links analyzed support three different mobility options, walking, cycling and vehicular, and their corresponding accessibility. FCPP has many points of access, however it is primarily an auto-centric park that promotes walkability and other mobility options once inside. The placement of the road network, bisecting the park reflects insufficient planning to accommodate the pressures of the future suburban developments and the subsequent pressure on the integrity of the parks ecological infrastructure. The pathway system reflects poor consideration in relation to the risks of slope erosion and flood, and many portions of the pathways have been suffered the effects of those risks. Poor accessibility and disconnection increase the prevalence of unofficial walking trails, which provide additional links and increase network connectivity, but further degrade the environment, putting species such as the garter snake at risk. As cities continue to grow, it is important to maintain the ecological integrity of urban parks such as Fish Creek Provincial Park and the ecosystem services that they provide. Therefore it is important to plan for the recreational and conservational uses of the park, properly plan and manage the urban network throughout the park that connects the surrounding communities to the park, and vice versa. A network analysis sheds light on the fact that, “When everything is connected to everything else, for better or worse, everything matters.” (Good Reads, 2016) A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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6.0 - Appendices 6.1 - Appendix 1 - Sources Alberta Environment and Parks. (2015, June 20). After-Action Review Report. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from Alberta Government (2016) Fish Creek Provincial Park. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from http://www. Alberta Government. (2016). Our History. Retrieved December 8, 2016 from, albertaparksca/about-us/our-history/ Alberta Government. (2016). Recreational Activities. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from http://www. Alberta Government. (2016). School Programs. Retrieved December 3, 2016 from, http://www.albertaparks. ca/fish-creek/education/school-programs/ Alberta Parks. (n.d.). Sikome Aquatic Facility. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from http://www.albertaparks. ca/fish-creek/information-facilities/special-facilities/sikome-aquatic-facility/ Adler, B. (2007, June 14). The case against golf. Retrieved November 28, 2016, from https://www. Beyond Pesticides. (n.d.). Golf and the Environment. Retrieved November 28, 2016, from http://www. Beyond Pesticides. (n.d.). The Environmental Principles for Golf Courses in the United States. Retrieved November 28, 2016, from environmental-principles Bolund, Per, and Sven Hunhammar. (1999)”Ecosystem services in urban areas. Ecological Economics 29.2 (1999): 293-301. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from upload/4ea53de1f27654240a000000/Bolund%20and%20Hunhammar%201999.pdf. Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant. (2016). “Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant.” Retrieved December 1, 2016, from Brooker, K. (2016, August 09). Swimming in Sikome. Calgary Herald. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from sikome/8765139/story.html Canada Golf Card. (n.d.). McKenzie Meadows Golf Course. Retrieved November 28, 2016, from https:// C.A.U.S.E. (n.d.). 1914 - The Mawson Plan. Retrieved November, 2016, from cause/1914-The-Mawson-Plan CBC News Canada. (2005, June 22). Deluge leaves Alberta park devastated. Retrieved December 1, 2016, from

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Chiesura, Anna. (2003) The role of urban parks for the sustainable city. Landscape and urban planning 68.1 (2004): 129-138. City of Calgary. (2016). Douglasdale bank restoration. Retrieved December 1, 2016, from http://www. City of Calgary. (2016, October 20). Douglasdale and McKenzie Lake Slope Stability Project. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from City of Calgary. (2016). Pathways and Bikeways. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from http://www.calgary. ca/CSPS/Parks/Pages/Pathways/Pathways-in-Calgary.aspx City of Calgary. (2016). Restoring flood damaged pathways. Retrieved December 1, 2016, from http://www. Dippel, S. (2015, November 20). McKenzie Lake hillside eroding as city ponders plan to shore it up. Retrieved December 1, 2016, from Duncan, S. S. (2016, June 17). Calgary’s Sikome lake opens in June but you will have to pay to play. Global News. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from Fish Creek Provincial Park, Alberta Parks. (2016, April). Bikes in the Park. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from Creek PP WEB_biking.pdf Forman, Richard T. T. (2014) Urban Ecology: Science of Cities. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. Friends of Fish Creek Park. (January, 17, 2013). Trail Care Program. Retrieved December 4, 2016 from, Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society. (2014). Friends of Fish Creek Annual Report: October 2013-September 2014. “Sharing Our Vision of A Sustainable Fish Creek Provincial Park.” Retrieved December 3, 2016 from, Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society. (2015). Friends of Fish Creek Annual Report: October 2014 to September 2015. Retrieved December 4, 2016, from uploads/2016/01/AR2015.pdf Frumkin, H., Frank, L., & Jackson, R.J. (2004). Physical Activity, Sprawl, and Health. In H. Frumkin & L. Frank (Authors), Urban Sprawl and Public Health: Designing, Planning, and Building for Healthy Communities (pp. 90-108). Washington, DC: Island Press. Fukan, C. (December 6, 2916). Assistant Events Coordinator, Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant. Personal Correspondence, email. Galpern, P. (November 29, 2016). EVDS 626: Landscape Ecology Lecture Slides. “Networks: As Conceptual Models for Planning.”

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Gilbertson, W. (2015, September 30). Lovely Recovery. Retrieved November 28, 2016, from http:// Good Reads. (2016). Bruce Mau Quotes. Retrieved December 8, 2016, from quotes/7263233-when-everything-is-connected-to-everything-else-for-better-or Gómez-Baggethun, E., & Barton, D. N. (2012, October). Classifying and valuing ecosystem services for urban planning. Ecological Economics, 86, 235-245. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.08.019 Government of Alberta. (April 2009). Plan for Parks. Retrieved December 3, 2016 from https://www. Hummel, Monte & Erin James-Abra. (July 18, 2016). Historica Canada. “Environmental and Conservation Movements: The environmental movement seeks to protect the natural world and promote sustainable living.” Retrieved December 4, 2016 from, environmental-and-conservation-movements/ Jarvie, M. (2016, November 6). Alberta government upgrading facilities in Fish Creek Park. Calgary Sun. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from Kirzinger, R. (December 6, 2016) Environmental Educator Coordinator, Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre. Personal Correspondence: email. Konijnendijk, C. C., Annerstedt, M., Nielsen, A. B., & Maruthaveeran, S. (2013, January). Benefits of Urban Parks: A Systematic Review [Scholarly project]. In World Urban Parks. Retrieved November, 2016, from McKenzie Meadows Golf Club. (n.d.). McKenzie Meadows Golf Course Details. Retrieved November 28, 2016, from Parks Foundation Calgary. (2016). Rotary/Mattamy Greenway. Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http:// Robertson, A. (1991). Fish Creek Provincial Park: A Guide to Canada’s Largest Urban Park. Calgary: Rocky Mountain Books. Tempesta, T. (2015, December). Benefits and costs of urban parks: A review. AESTIMUM 67, 26(3), 127143. doi:10.12128/Aestimum-17943 The City of Calgary. (2000). Calgary Pathway and Bikeway Plan Report. Retrieved November 19, 2016, from The Praxis Group. (2008, September 25). Survey of Albertan’s Priorities for Provincial Parks. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from Report Final.pdf Visit Calgary. (n.d.). McKenzie Meadows Golf Club. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from http://www. The Ranche at Fish Creek Restoration Society. (2016). Site History. Retrieved December 2, 2016 from A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park

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Young, G. (2016, September 16). Third and final phase of Rotary/Mattamy Greenway is launched. Calgary Herald. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from Zink, E. (2014, December 15). Mitigating Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions in an Urban Environment: An Appraisal of the Trends and Costs Associated with Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions in Calgary, AB Canada. School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University. Retrieved November 19, 2016 from, http://hixon.yale. edu/sites/default/files/files/fellows/paper/zink_emily_2014_report.pdf

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6.2 - Appendix 2 - Maps Map 1: “Urban Parks in the City of Calgary.” Created by Kayla McCarthy with Open Source GIS Data. December, 2016. Map 2: “Map 2: Area of Interest: Fish Creek Provincial Park and Surrounding Area.” Created by Kayla McCarthy with Open Source GIS Data. December 2016. Map 3: “Waterbodies.” Created by Kayla McCarthy with Open Source GIS Data. December, 2016. Map 4: “Topography.” Created by Kayla McCarthy with Open Source GIS Data. December, 2016. Map 5: “Vegetation.” Created by Kayla McCarthy with Open Source GIS Data and Google Earth Pro. December, 2016. Map 6: “McKenzie Lake Escarpment.” Created by Kayla McCarthy with Open Source GIS Data. 2016. Map 7: “Location 2- Bow Valley Ranche and Annie’s Café.” Created by Pamela Downey with Open Source GIS Data. December, 2016. Map 8: “Location 3- Sikome Lake.” Created by Kayla McCarthy with Open Source GIS Data. December, 2016. Map 9: “Location 4- McKenzie Meadows Golf Course.” Created by Kayla McCarthy with Open Source GIS Data. December, 2016. Map 10: “Location 5 and Location 6 - Shannon Terrace” Created by Pamela Downey with Open Source GIS Data. December, 2016. Map 11: “Location 7- Douglasdale Bike Path Network.” Created by Kayla McCarthy with Open Source GIS Data. December, 2016. Map 12: “Location 8- Votier’s Flats Entrance.” Created by Pamela Downey with Open Source GIS Data. December, 2016. Map 13: “Location 9- Fish Creek Provincial Park Bisection, Macleod Trail and 1KM Buffer.” Created by Pamela Downey with Open Source GIS Data. December, 2016.

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6.3 - Appendix 3 - Images Image 1: Park signage (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 2: Park signage (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 3: Park signage (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 4: Park signage (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 5: South Calgary (Google Earth Pro,2016) Image 6: Bow River 2016 (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 7: Fish Creek 2016 (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 8: Bow River 2013 (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 9: Douglasdale path (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 10: Votier’s Flats (photo credit: Pamela Downey) Image 11: Votier’s Flats (photo credit: Pamela Downey) Image 12: Park views (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 13: Shannon Terrace (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 14: Bow Valley Ranch (photo credit: Pamela Downey) Image 15: Protective wire on tree (photo credit: Pamela Downey) Image 16: Deer (photo credit: Brian McCarthy) Image 17: Eagle (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 18: Muskrat (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 19: Pelicans (photo credit: Brian McCarthy) Image 20: Squirrel (photo credit: Pamela Downey) Image 21: Bank erosion (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 22: Closed for repairs (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 23: Pathway maintenance (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 24: Restricted access fence (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 25: Bow Valley Ranche (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 26: Artisan Gardens (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 27: McKenzie Meadows Golf Course (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 28: McKenzie Meadows Golf Course during 2013 flood (photo credit: Brian McCarthy) Image 29: Environmental Learning Centre (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 30: Snake Hibernaculum Preservation Zone (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 31: Snake information sign (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 32: Damaged path (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 33: Path closure sign (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 34: Bank reinforcement (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 35: Displaced path (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 36: Votier’s Flats access point (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy) Image 37: Macleod Trail (Google Earth Pro, 2016) Image 38: Beneath Macleod Trail (photo credit: Pamela Downey) Image 39: Macleod Trail (photo credit: Kayla McCarthy)

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6.4 - Appendix 4 - Figures Figure 1: “Recommendations.” Created by Kayla McCarthy with Google Earth Pro and Illustrator. December, 2016. Figure 2: “Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre Programs.” Created by Pamela Downey, December 2016. Information compiled from: Alberta Government. (2016). School Programs. Retrieved December 3, 2016 from, Figure 3: “Fish Creek Provincial Park.” (Alberta Parks, 2016). Figure 4: “Type of Access.” Created by Pamela Downey, December 2016. Information compiled from: [ Alberta Government (2016) Fish Creek Provincial Park. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from http://www. ] and GIS Open Source Data. Figure 5: “The City of Calgary, 2015, Average Weekday Traffic Volume.” (City of Calgary, March 24, 2016) Figure 6: “Distance from Road Surface (m).” (Forman, 2014, pp 279). Figure 7: “Calgary Roadkill Hot Spots” (Zink, 2014)

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A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park  
A Network Analysis of Fish Creek Provincial Park