Weaselhead/Glenmore Park is located in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta
In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge that the Weaselhead and Glenmore Parks lie within territories formerly inhabited and cared for by the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, and the Métis Nation (Region 3). We commit to work together with all people, indigenous and non, to continue to care for this land in honour of those who came before us.
For thousands of years the land we now call Calgary was home to the Indigenous nations listed above, who cared for the environment in order to preserve it for generations to come. After years of resisting European settlers, Treaty 7 was the result of negotiations with the Canadian Crown which promised reserved land and traditional rights. The Weaselhead Flats in particular was home to the Tsuut’ina Nation until 1931, when this part of their reserve was purchased by the City of Calgary.
The Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society was set up in 1994 by a group of people who wanted to preserve the parkland that surrounds the Glenmore Reservoir, here in the heart of Calgary. This land comprises three parks – The Weaselhead Natural Environment Area, North Glenmore Park and South Glenmore Park. They were originally protected from development by the City of Calgary to ensure that the water in the reservoir remained pure and uncontaminated, providing its citizens with that most precious commodity – clean water. However, as Calgary grew, pressure to build a section of the SW Calgary Ring Road through the Weaselhed and across the reservoir along the 37th Street alignment also grew. Clearly this would have had a huge impact on the area – its land, its water, the wildlife that call it home, and the people who enjoy its tranquility and beauty. Opposition to this, and, once the current route to the west of the Weaselhead was decided, advocating for the least impactful design has been one of the Society’s main activities over the last 20 years. Now the road is open to traffic the Society works and will continue to work, to ensure the best mitigation measures are installed, functioning as intended, and are effective. Maintaining the biodiversity of the Weaselhead/Glenmore Parks and the contribution they make towards the broader ecological health of the Elbow River Watershed remains a priority for the Society.
For protection of natural areas to receive support, people need to be aware of the benefits that such areas provide – both to the infrastructure of a successful City and to the individual. Every year some 4000 schoolchildren and 400 adults participate in outdoor educational programs run by the Society. These focus on meeting curriculum needs such as learning about wetlands or the role of decomposition, but also introduce children to the enjoyment of simply being outside.
Protection of urban parks such as the Weaselhead and GlenmoreParks requires active stewardship, much like the stewardship of Indigenous peoples before us and in the present. Their preservation of this area for centuries serves as inspiration for the Society’s efforts now. Thousands of people hike, bike, run, and wander through the parks every day. Litter gets dropped deliberately or accidentally, so every year the Society organizes litter pick-ups to keep the space clean and inviting for its users. Seeds of non-native plants blow in or are dropped by birds feeding in the surrounding gardens, and some take root and spread, threatening to displace the native vegetation. To combat this and preserve the wonderful diversity of plants and animals, the Society has an ongoing volunteer weed control program. The Society encourages participation in Citizen Science efforts that help build better and more effective stewardship, and as no natural area or its inhabitants can thrive in isolation, the Society asks people to extend the care and respect they show for this small but very special place to all Alberta.
The goal of the Society is to protect and maintain the rich biodiversity of the Weaselhead/Glenmore area for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone in Calgary, now and into the future.
(For a brief overview of what we do, watch the video below – prepared by the Alberta Emerald Foundation in 2018.)