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Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation celebrating decade milestone with free tours, hikes

 The Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation (GRPF) is turning 10 years old this year, and preparations are under way to celebrate the milestone birthday on Aug. 8 and 9.
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To celebrate the big 1-0, the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation is offering free guided hikes and tours on Aug. 8 and 9.
 The Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation (GRPF) is turning 10 years old this year, and preparations are under way to celebrate the milestone birthday on Aug. 8 and 9.

Throughout the two-day period, the foundation will host various golf cart tours, guided hikes and walks to highlight the history of Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, its wildlife, flower species, and more, according to GRPF’s executive director, Sarah Parker.

“It’s just our way of celebrating the history and the beauty of the park and getting people out to see areas they may not have before,” Parker said. “It’s an opportunity for people to do something out of the ordinary when they’re at the park.”

As part of the celebration, attendance and admission will be free, though registration is required to reserve a spot. Six people will be permitted per golf cart tour, Parker said, and 15 people will be the cap for a walking or hiking event.

Informational booths will be set up, promoting the conservation work that is done in the park, which is located just southeast of Cochrane. Parker said there will also be scavenger hunt activity sheets available for parents to pick up to complete with their children while visiting the sprawling grasslands.

 Parker also noted there is always something to learn about Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, even if you’ve been a regular attendee throughout the last decade. 

“It’s an opportunity for people who have been coming here forever to kind of look back and say, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s been 10 years,’” she said.

Recently, Parker had the chance to sit down with some of the founding members of GRPF, which is responsible for overseeing and maintaining the park.

The idea to bring a provincial park to the area began when Neil Harvie and his family were watching the development of the Bearspaw community northwest of Calgary, where farmland was being turned over for acreage construction.

GRPF then formed in 2011. In the beginning, Parker said the foundation’s goal was to maintain the park’s healthy grasslands while keeping the area open to the public.

“[The park] has gone beyond their expectations,” she said. “The fact that we see thousands of kids a year in programming, that we have such an active volunteer committee here at the park, that our foundation is still here doing its work, that the provincial staff are still so dedicated to the park. [is great].”

In the future, Parker says the goal for GRPF will be to continue to maintain the grasslands in the area, educate youth, and eventually connect to Cochrane and Calgary via a pathway system.

Anyone interested in attending one of the free programs or tours that are being offered as part of the park’s 10th anniversary celebration is encouraged to visit grpf.ca/10th-anniversary/ to claim a spot.