Trail Monitoring, Environmental Reserve, Bighill Creek

Monitoring Trail Transformation, Environmental Reserve, Bighill Creek
By Vivian Pharis, Board Member, BCPS

BCPS determined that it would wise to begin a formal set of annual measurements of the main loop trail through the Environmental Reserve that we now steward. I was tasked with setting up a number of measurement sites and with taking the initial photographs and measurements this summer.
I established seven measurement sites along the trail, the first three being on the stretch of the ER trail that is actually on Mt. St. Francis Retreat land. A portion of the ER trail begins at our sign near the last vehicle bridge upstream on Bighill Creek, is on Retreat land that BCPS stewards under a special agreement with Mt. St. Francis. The final four sites lie along the south-side trail, except for site 7 that measures a piece of trail leading from the bridge up to the decommissioned road on the north side of the reserve.

Eroded section of trail already in need of rehabilitation. The trail has now been rerouted around this portion.

Human use of the ER loop trail has greatly increased in the last few years, and with the example of the very overused and eroded Big Hill Springs Provincial Park at the upper end of the valley, BCPS Board members are concerned that ER trails do not suffer similar overuse.

This is going to mean regular monitoring, and possible use adjustment, trail maintenance and trail re positioning. We have now closed a short, steep portion of the south loop and will begin some rehabilitation of this site. This closed section is now signed and a new, higher trail has been flagged for through use.

Seven trail markers will allow monitoring from the same sites each year.

This summer BCPS initiated a monitoring program for the loop trail through the Environmental Reserve. Seven sites were chosen for annual measurement in order to monitor erosion. Each site was measured and photographed.
The above two photos show the expanded and very eroded state of trails through Big Hill Springs Provincial Park.

Seven sections of the loop trail have been selected for annual measurement and for photographic record in order to monitor erosion.

One of the areas of trail that will be monitored and rehabilitated or routed around.

BCPS is hoping to prevent this sort of extreme damage to trails within the Environmental Reserve
The photos above measure other trail segments,
below shows a portion of the Environmental
Reserve loop trail that is already in need of

AGM coming up soon!


Annual General Meeting

Bighill Creek Preservation Society

November 18th, 2017

At 13h00, in the hall of Seniors on the Bow

Spray Lakes Sawmill Family Sport Community Centre


Agenda Items

* Trail Use Survey – 3 summer months of 2017, through motion sensor camera
Vivian Pharis
* Trail Erosion Monitoring initiated
Vivian Pharis
* Trail Maintenance – work done, work required
Gerry Bietz
* Beavers – Their benefits to our environment.
Dr. Ken Stevenson

* Update on Gravel Pits, Big Hill Springs area.
Gerry Bietz and Vivian Pharis
* Canada thistle-eating weevil test plot initiated
Gerry Bietz
* Water quality testing – first summer and fall of results
Dr. Ymene Fouli
* Stewardship assessment
Gerry Bietz
* Financial Statement and Grants Update
Lyse Carignan
* Election of Board Members


Watershed Study begins

We have been successful in obtaining grants from Land Stewardship Centre, AlbertaEcotrust and Bow River Basin Council to initiate our Watershed Study. It should be completed by the end of July 2018.

Trail maintenance

This fall we will start upgrading our one trail. If you are interested in helping to upgrade our trail please contact us by email at

Recent activities-Spring 2017

We have spent the winter  applying for grants from different organizations. We were successful with Bow River Basin Council, but we need matching funds in order to be able to conduct a science-based watershed study. We are waiting to hear from Land Stewardship Centre and  AlbertaEcotrust.

Last Friday, May 19th, we erected our first sign to mark the reserve and municipal  lands and the trail in  the area. The erection of these signs was made  possible thanks to our volunteers and to Cochrane Foundation who donated money for the purchase of our website, wildlife cameras and our famous signs.

This summer we will tackle the upgrading of the trails and we will need more volunteers. If you would like to help, please contact us at :

Governance and Management of Riparian Lands Conference /Workshop

when: February 23, 2017

where: Cochrane Ranche House

purpose: To teach municipalities and other stakeholders about the importance of privately owned riparian lands. To provide participants with emerging knowledge of best available science and policy tools to understand the functions, deleniate riparian building development setbacks, govern and manage these lands.

partners: CEAC and BRBC…

registration: Eventbrite

cost: $50-$100. (to be determined)

attendees: 100-150

AGM Saturday, January 7th, 2017

Bighill Creek Preservation Society
Presentation and
Annual General Meeting
2:00 PM Saturday, January 7th
Spray Lakes Rec Center-Seniors on the Bow

Presentation by
Tracy Lee of Miistakis Institute:
Monitoring and Protecting
Wildlife Corridors
AGM to follow        bcps-logo_draft1


Glendale proposed new development

If you are interested in seeing information regarding the proposed development, go to Urbanstar’s consultant Civic Works has posted their boards and some additional information- no studies or anything of substance.

BCPS is seeking comments….

BCPS is seeking comment on the need for an area conservation plan prior to more area urban expansion.
Water is a major issue for this new development proposal (Urbanstar), just as it remains for the Glenbow Ranch development. We think that the city of Calgary is not planning on supplying Cochrane with additional water and has no plan to supply Glenbow, nor to take its sewage. A sewage treatment plant being toyed with the west side of the Glenbow development would not cover the whole development.
Does RVC has a coherent long term plan for development, water supply, sewage or ecological aspects such as a wild life corridor?
We would like to hear your thoughts on this matter.

Fall has arrived!

september view westwards