Monday, February 13, 2017 was a game changer for the Bow River fishing community. The Calgary River Access Strategy was approved by City Council giving the fishing community two new boat ramps at Ogden Bridge and Inglewood and an upgrade at West Baker Park and Graves Bridge (Glenmore). Once the High Priority Access Points are completed by the fall of 2018, the drift boat angler will be able to fish the entire lower Bow River from West Baker Park in the North-West of Calgary downstream to Carsland.
As the full impact of the River Access Strategy rolls out over the next 6 years we will see the number of boat ramps increase from 6 to a total of 17. This will allow for short (half-day) and longer (full-day) float trips over a variety of landscapes. The Bow River Boat Ramp Page details all sites on a Google Map
Bow River Trout has played an important role in the stakeholder consultation process with Calgary Parks to develop the River Access Strategy and will continue to be consulted with river access site developments. We will also be working to improve access downstream of Calgary.
The Bow River is considered a “Blue Ribbon Trout Stream” and is recognized around the world as one of the best destinations for an opportunity to catch a “Once in a Lifetime” Brown or Rainbow Trout.
A recent report generated by Bow River Trout for the Calgary River Access Strategy summarized data from angling surveys conducted across Alberta:
- These data support our (CRUA) belief that in excess of 12,000 anglers fish the Bow River on average 14.8 days a year. This accounts for more than 177,600 fishing day per year contributing more than $24.5 million to the local economy.
- In addition, the Sports Fishing in Alberta, 2010 Survey indicates that the Alberta’s Eastern Slopes Zone supports 56,519 anglers each spending on average $2,018 /year to support their recreational activity, for a total $114 million annually.
Where are all these anglers when assistance is needed to improve recreational fishing opportunities in the region?
Bow River Trout has been very successful representing local fishing interest as a stakeholder with the City of Calgary’s River Access Strategy. We are confident that we will see boat ramp improvements towards the end of 2017 and into 2018. This consultation process has been a game changer as to how the fishing community negotiates with government to gain improvement to our local fishery.
The next step is to engage the Province to develop a river access strategy for the entire Bow River Basin. We believe Bow River Trout could become the society representing the Bow River recreational angler interests at the negotiation table.
We are looking for 5 people to commit time to the development of Bow River Trout as a society and secure a large enough membership to support an aggressive mandate for the future of the Bow River fishery. If you can assist please fill out the contact information below
The Calgary River Access Strategy will be presented to the City of Calgary’s Community & Protective Services Committee(CPS) on February 1, 2017 for discussion, public input and hopefully approval before being presented to City Council for approval in March. From a list of 25 sites given consideration for development, the list is now down to 12 potential boat ramps. Of which Stoney Trail, 12 Street SE (new), Refinery Park (new), Graves Bridge and Fish Creek are considered high priority for the fishing community.
After considerable debate 17 Ave SE / Cushing Bridge has been taken off the table as a public access point. Ogden Road was considered as a realistic alternative, but the Bonnybrook Permanent Flood Barrier eliminated this site. A new boat ramp site at the top end of the Old Refinery Park has been identified as the most appropriate location to meet recreation fishing boat access to replace the 17 Ave SE boat ramp. The rationale for this boat ramp site selection can be seen in the following Report
What is important at this stage in the River Access Strategy approval process is for all river user groups, businesses and individuals to support the proposals with appropriate comments that will assist approval by City Council.
Needless to say the fishing community needs to get behind this project.
BRT Presentation to Community& Protective Service Committee in February details the needs for recreational fishing boat access . If you feel a change in direction is needed please contact me ASAP. We would be pleased to add your support to the document, but if you wish to submit input yourself, please forward an email to the Project Manager for the River Access Strategy at Calgary Parks.
If you wish to speak to the CPS committee, please contact me and I will fill you in on the details.
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