Parks and Greenspaces
Parks and Recreation put people first and improve the quality of life in our community by fostering active healthy living and wellness. Parks contributes to this vision by providing solid maintenance practices for Parks and Greenspaces so that all visitors and residents can enjoy.
The Town of High River consists of 700 Acres (or 283 Hectares) of parks, boulevards and green spaces – and these are growing each year!
The Parks Department is responsible for all maintenance of these areas including annual tree planting, irrigation, pruning, pest management (weeds, rodents, black knot), watering, fertilizing and removal or replacement of aging poplars in accordance with the Town’s Tree Protection Bylaw and Policy as well as the Urban Forest Standards (see below for more information).
The Town’s dedicated Parks staff also takes care of the public playgrounds, baseball diamonds, sports fields, cemetery, flower and shrub beds, benches, picnic tables, planters, fences and oversees mowing contracts.
The Parks Department installs and maintains the Town’s annual Christmas light displays in public parks and facilities. They are also working closely with the Renewal Team on the Town’s long range planning and recovery.
Tree Health Video
This video illustrates how the Park’s Department will determine the health of Town trees during annual tree maintenance assessments
High River offers a beautiful setting with mature trees and natural areas. many paved trails give access to breathtaking views, offer access to exploring the Highwood River valley, parks, and open spaces.
The Town of High River appreciates the value of the trees, which are an integral part of the community’s beauty. Town council passed a Tree Protection Bylaw to protect these valuable resources from any potential damage from the public.
The supplementary Tree Protection Policy is intended to provide a framework for the Town of High River’s Parks and Recreation Department to manage and maintain trees on Town property. For more information, refer to the Tree Bylaw Brochure and the Town of High River Urban Forest Standards.
The Town of High River Open Space Plan was developed in conjunction with a committee of townspeople, and resulted in a plan that re-focuses priorities and emphasises the public realm as the most important determining infrastructure element in town form. It includes documentation of the historical evolution of High River, and attempts to record what is distinctive and of value. This background led to the development of locally-relevant, place-specific policies and practices that are grounded in the desire to maintain the particular identity and quality of life of High River. This plan considers the importance of sense of place, the qualities of small towns, and the characteristics specific to south western Alberta.
If members of the public and/or contractors require vehicle or other access to the Town’s parks or green spaces, they will need to complete a Parks and Green spaces Right of Way Access Permit.
Unauthorized access includes driving, parking or encroaching on rights of way, boulevards, parks and green spaces for the purpose of moving, construction, parking, or any other activity using a vehicle or piece of equipment. If damage occurs, the damaged area must be returned to pre-existing conditions and to the satisfaction of the Town of High River.
Naturalization is simply an alternative to high maintenance landscapes. It allows native plants into areas that are not mowed, and can evolve naturally or be planted. The whole idea is becoming more popular worldwide, due to economic restraints and a desire to do what is right for the environment.
What are the advantages?
- Economics: Less turf maintenance and mowing reduce costs.
- Environmental benefits: Reintroduction of native plants helps re-establish wildlife populations, increases natural growth, and improves overall air quality.
- Aesthetics: Creates attractive, natural areas, within an urban zone.
- Slope stabilization and filtering runoff.
Not all sites are suited for naturalization. Areas where sports are played or playgrounds are located are not acceptable, but the fringe areas besides these sites may work.
Roadways are an excellent example of manicured areas where naturalization could be applied to reduce mowing and maintenance.
Weeds can initially be an issue when you passively start allowing these areas to become naturalized, but they typically only have to be eradicated for the first two years. Once the native material is established this is no longer an issue.
Naturalization can significantly reduce maintenance costs for communities while offering a beautiful, responsible alternative to manicured areas.
What areas have been naturalized
Natural areas in High River can be found along Coal Trail in the north west, the edges of George Lane Park, and along the river pathways. They can also be found in Stang Park, around Sunshine Lake, Vista Mirage and Highwood Lake.
The Town of High River uses an Integrated Pest Management system to control weeds and pests throughout the community. This is a decision making model used to prevent and manage pest problems using a variety of methods to manage infestations.