An Alberta riparian habitat management society, called Cows and Fish, is hosting a celebration of Alberta’s back-country, including restoration activities and free food near Waiparous Village on Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Recreational Stewardship Fair is set to take place at the Waiparous Creek Campground day use area in partnership with Alberta Environment and Parks, Trout Unlimited Canada, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Ghost Watershed Alliance Society, and more.
According to Marina Krainer, executive director of Ghost Watershed Alliance Society, the Waiparous area was host to the first iteration of the Recreational Stewardship Fair last year. It boasted a fairly small turnout, but organizers are hopeful to expand on its success.
“We had a lot of really good conversations with people,” Krainer said of last year’s inaugural event. “We have a lot of hands-on activities for people of all ages, so it’s a family-friendly event. There’s lots of stuff for kids to do as well.”
She added the event will host various booths from participating organizations, including Calgary ATV Riders Association, Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance, Rocky Mountain Dirt Riders, and Trails4Tomorrow with the Calgary Jeep Club.
“All of these organizations will be sharing information on the different types of recreation and how you can make sure that while you’re recreating your stewarding the land, and what to look out for,” Krainer explained.
The executive director added the fair will also have an interactive watershed model that kids can explore to get a better understanding of how a watershed works and explain how all the water ends up in Calgary (and Airdrie) for drinking water at some point.
“That comes off the eastern slopes and then we will have tours to the river,” she said. “We will be showing all the bugs that live in the river, talk a little bit about fish habitats, and educate how you know areas that have been used for trails.”
She added if anyone wants to re-vegetate the edge of the stream, they need to know the intricacies of how that is done and the importance of erosion control.
Lastly, there will be a walk exploring riparian health, during which guests can find out more about the different plants that grow in the habitat, including good ones, as well as the ones you don’t want to see.
There will also be a scavenger hunt and special prizes as well, Krainer added.
“We know there are a lot of people from Rocky View County and Airdrie that come out to the Ghost to recreate, and we want to connect with those people and make sure that people know how to use the best skills possible out there to keep the land in good shape,” she said.
“And make sure that this will be available for us and future generations to recreate and have a nice, beautiful place.”
She added it's also important to educate guests about the many threatened species of fish as well as ungulates (including bears), along with the importance of teaching residents about the drinking water supply.
“For Rocky View County and Calgary, the Ghost watershed alone provides about seven per cent of the flow of the river upstream of Calgary,” Krainer said.