Big Hill Springs Provincial Park Reopens

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park is open  after a two year make-over which cost $1.2 million.  Please enjoy the Park responsibly- especially at this time when the new plantings are fragile.

Here is the letter sent by Alberta Parks asking Rocky View County for  a 1.6 kilometer gravel extraction buffer zone to protect the Big hill Spring Provincial Park from gravel mines.  It was disregarded.

BCPS and Friends of Big Hill Springs Provincial Park are afraid the regulatory process will not protect the Park. We are asking those who love the Park to contact  government officials to bring political pressure to bear. We need to demand a 1.6 kilometer setback.

Please send your demand for a buffer and a copy of this letter to these people (and anyone else you’d like):

Jason Nixon, Minister of the Environment at,

Shane Schreiber, Assistant Deputy Minister at

Peter Guthrie, our MLA at

Many Thanks

Gerry Bietz

BCPS Alberta Parks letter to RVC Feb 17 21

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park Reopens Amidst Threat of Gravel Pit-September 10th, 2021

Here is a very informative published in the Rocky View Weekly. A must to read!

Help Save Big Hill Springs Provincial Park

Help Save Big Hill Springs Provincial Park

Our Park is under imminent threat from open pit gravel mines.

As shown on the map linked below, 5 square kilometers of land adjacent our Park are owned by gravel operators. One quarter of this land has already been approved for mines by Rocky View County. They will excavate to within 1 meter of the water which created and sustains the Park’s ecosystem.

The science says these mines may contaminate the water in the Park and Bighill Creek and alter flows on which the diverse ecology depends. Science and logic say dust and noise created by these mines adjacent our Park will fowl the air and destroy its serenity.
BCPS Maps Gravel Operations Big Hill Spring Aquifer Nov 2020

You can help.

We must convince the Alberta Government that Big Hill Springs Provincial Park is too rare a gem to be allowed to be put at such risk by gravel mines that can be developed in many other less harmful locations in our area.

Please do this today.

Voice your opposition to these open pit mines to:
Jason Nixon, Minister of the Environment at,
Shane Schreiber, Assistant Deputy Minister at and Peter Guthrie our MLA at,

To view the science and more information explore the website or follow us on Facebook.


Prairie Falcon Banding

Here is an interview with John Campbell who has been banding the Prairie Falcons in our valley, as well as all Falcons in Southern Alberta forever.

GoFundMe Change of Direction

Dear Gofundme Friends:

Thank you very much for you contributions to support our efforts.

Bighill Creek Preservation Society is still actively opposing the Mountain Ash Summit (MAPL) gravel mine. In concert with Friends of Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, we’ve undertaken public engagement with signage, handouts, Facebook and Instagram. We’ve encouraged supporters to send letters to Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), via the minister Jason Nixon, his assistant deputy ministers and officials. Our Society has communicated continuously with Environment staff to encourage them to act as we believe that they have the authority and responsibility to proactively investigate the impact of this and the other gravel mines on Big Hill Springs groundwater.

Regulation of gravel mines in general and especially regarding groundwater impacts is a disjointed and superficial series of approvals. As you probably know six members of Rocky View County rammed through the land use re-designation (three readings in one day) in spite of overwhelming broad based and scientifically supported opposition. There is no appeal process.

MAPL’s evidence at the RVC hearing stated that their operations would change the flow of water to the Big Hill Springs. Nonetheless they claim they will not alter groundwater and dismissed evidence their mine will place groundwater and Big Hill Springs Provincial Park at risk.

This mine, as most others in the Province is required to apply to Alberta Environment for registration under the “Code of Practice for Pits”, a short document which describes standard operating requirements for dry pits. The “Code” makes no reference to groundwater. Information is normally provided by the applicant. We have not been able to determine if the public will receive any notice or be given any opportunity to provide information to this process or if it will simply receive a “rubber stamp” approval.

Following the “Code” process, MAPL must apply to AEP for an authorisation under the Water Act to remove the sloughs on the property. Because they claim not to “alter” groundwater MAPL have stated that they will not apply for any groundwater impact approvals. Since December 2020, BCPS has attempted to encourage AEP to 1) require MALP to file a groundwater application, 2) provide public notice 3) receive and consider public input and 4) do their own investigation. We have sent AEP both Dr. Jon Fennell’s study of groundwater risks and the letter in opposition provided by Alberta Parks. (See for both.)

If AEP determines they will not investigate ground water impacts, such a decision will be subject to appeal to the Environmental Appeals Board. This would will require legal support, be a lengthy and expensive process and will require funds you’ve most generously donated.

Our overarching concern is that if this mine and the others are approved, this risks and impacts to groundwater, Big Hill Springs Provincial Park and Bighill Creek cannot be effectively mitigated or ever repaired. The battle continues.

Thanks again for your support.
Gerry Bietz

It is important to act now!

Three main points:

1. The Park is closed and if the springs are compromised and ooze pollutants or contaminants it could be closed indefinitely.

2. The map shows that if this pit goes ahead then a huge piece of the basin could become a mine as well.

3. The government of Alberta has serious questions and concerns about these gravel pits and there is great concern that attempts are being made to keep these concerns from the public. Visit the Instagram account, savebighillspringspark

Please click here to see the petition.
Save Big Hill Springs Provincial Park petition

There are over 1,500 signatures and every time someone signs, an email goes to every councillor and the MLA and the minister of the environment.

This outrageous attack on the Big Hill Springs Park is being heard by Albertans and they are rushing to support its defence.

Share the word.

Gravel and Parks Don’t Mix

Happy Friday everyone!
We are excited to let you know we are starting our signage campaign to help bring awareness to what is going on! If you want to help support us please consider donating
Or let us know if you want to participate by putting up some signs at your home.

gravel awareness

Please Defend Alberta Parks

Bighill Spring Park – Please Defend Alberta Parks – Update Here is an interesting and timely article that was in this morning’s Herald.

Is Calgary Growth Founded on Ethical Gravel?

Calgary Herald
Letters to the Editor
For Publication

March 11, 2021

Is Calgary’s Growth Founded on Ethical Gravel?

No matter the development, be it residential, high rise, ring road or LRT extension, Calgary’s growth is gravel dependent. But, is this gravel ethically sourced? Much of it comes short haul and therefore dirt cheap from neighbouring Rocky View County where 20 pits supply Calgary. Soon Pit 21 will be added, but at a terrible cost.

At a recent “virtual” hearing where Rocky View Council dismissed over 100 opposing submissions, hearing only from the proponent, the first of four new mines was approved that stand to kill the springs that have created one of the Calgary area’s oldest, most iconic parks at Big Hill Springs. Springs destruction could affect half the flow into Big Hill Creek, threatening trout habitat, a lovely Cochrane stream and Calgary’s drinking water. Soon Calgary could be building with gravel from the Mountain Ash mine, situated on the park’s boundary and on the spring’s aquifer.  A pit producing unethical gravel.

Big Hill’s springs are ranked by Parks Canada as one of the top four mineral springs in Canada. They will be forever altered by a gravel mine virtually on top of them. Over thousands of years the springs have released minerals forming the rare tufa rock that water so prettily flows over and makes this small park such a local attraction. To destroy a park for common gravel is unconscionable and Calgarians should be appalled. They should also take action by making their views known to Alberta Environment Minister, Jason Nixon.


Vivian Pharis
V.P. Bighill Creek Preservation Society
Box 609
Cochrane, AB, T4C 1A7
403 932 2124

Results from March Second RVC council hearing