Carburn Park is an urban recreation oasis in SE Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Urban parks are a major source of opportunity in the shoulder seasons when lingering snow, running water and fickle weather compromise the core hiking season in the mountains. Carburn Park along the east side of the Bow River is no exception and this recreational oasis is particularly interesting with new natural features created by June 2013 flooding. Restoration of the recreational park has been no small task and remains ongoing.
On arrival at Carburn Park in Calgary's Riverview district the first obvious feature near the parking area is a pristine pond obviously the focus of water sport recreation.
Hiking left from the parking area onto gravel trail intercepts the Bow River running aggressively from Spring runoff. Riverbank damage from the June 2013 floods remains evident three years following the event. Carburn Park was vulnerable and seriously damaged but Herculean restoration efforts by City Parks have returned the urban oasis to former glory.
Dirt trail is solid and easy to navigate above the eroded edge of the Bow River which is running high and fast. Further north, flood damage is still obvious and interesting three years after the event but new growth is relentlessly making incursions to camouflage the damage. A family of deer roam in nearby forest with little apparent fear of human company. The labyrinth of trail opportunity far exceeds anything shown on a map.
There are sufficient structures within the park to act as landmarks and location indicators so reintroduction from wilderness to more formal trail is easy to achieve. Picnic shelters, memorial benches and trail signage occupy the borders of the paved cycle and pedestrian path around the larger of the two lagoons.
The west side of the large lagoon hosts several picnic areas and a children's playground. The east side of the large lagoon hosts a link in the incredible main city cycle path.
Gravel trail links the west side of the large lagoon and the small lagoon. Wetlands off to the river side support a wide variety of wild flowers and plants. Today, new goslings appear to be about half way to adult size.
At the smaller lagoon with the island in the center, a paddle boarding session hosted by the University of Calgary Outdoor Center is well underway for a group of young people who are clearly enjoying the experience.
The small lagoon supports a broad variety of water sports including today's waterboard class and evidence of activity by the Bow Waters Canoe Club. Swimming is not permitted. Fishing and bird watching are popular.
Back near the entrance, groups of enthusiastic school students are gathering for the day's educational activities. At the administration area near entrance parking, flower gardens are maturing and colorful.
The small lagoon hosts boat launch ramps and wooden stairs to water level for canoe boarding under the shade of mature trees in this idyllic and diverse parkland area.
The City of Calgary hosts a wide assortment of incredibly diverse and unique urban parks.
Spending all or part of a day at any one of these urban treasures can positively change the nature of the day with the investment of a bit of non-renewable time.
Photos at Carburn Park were taken on June 8, 2016.