1 Oct 2023
Big Hill Springs Provincial Park
Be part of the adventure! Explore Big Hill Spring and Bighill Creek, on a trail few folks visit and see why it deserves special protection. The springs and creek are under threat of being forever altered by proposed gravel mines. This section of Bighill Creek boasts an exceptional amount of biodiversity and is ecologically intact. Learn more about the importance of the area and what might be lost from water expert Wendell Koning and Bighill Preservation Society President Gerry Bietz. Experience this gem for yourself and learn what AWA and other organizations are doing to protect it.
The Bighill Creek area is the meeting of a number of ecoregions including Prairie, Foothills, Aspen Parkland and even Montane. This makes it ecologically very diverse. We will first spend time at Big Hill Springs Provincial Park (approx. 30-45 minutes) exploring the lower portion of the park, checking out the tufa and discussing the potential impacts of multiple gravel mining operations on the groundwater, the integrity of the Springs.
Bighill Springs Prov Park contains nationally significant springs that are ranked in a report commissioned by Parks Canada as being “one of the top four mineral springs in all of Canada". Rare tufa rock formed over thousands of years of calcium depositing out of the springs water onto vegetation and building up walls and dams. There are attractive waterfalls that flow over many tufa formations. Long indigenous history includes several bison jumps, bison bones, ancient tools and pictograph.
From the Provincial Park we’ll then hike 5.5 km downstream along Bighill Creek. Along the way we’ll discuss the history of the area, archeology, ranching, the geology and water flows and quality. And we’ll see multiple springs coming out of the sides of the valley.
The hike along Bighill Creek will lead us down a unique, deeply incised valley known to have been continuously occupied by First Nations for 8,00 years. Demonstrating a wide variety of sub-ecosystems, the watershed is still in very intact condition and occupied by very diverse populations for wildlife.
It makes for a very scenic hike in later fall with grassland, shrubs, some aspen trees on the north side where we’ll be walking, and heavy conifer cover on the south side. Near the end of the hike, the Bighill Creek valley opens up into the foothills with views to the Rocky Mountains in the distance.
For more info on the efforts to protect Bighill Creek visit the Bighill Creek Preservation Society's site.
CoordinatorWendell Koning, former water quality specialist/limnologist with Alberta Environment and Protected Areas
and Gerry Bietz, President of Bighill Creek Preservation Society
Things To be Aware Of
Contact this Coordinator
We're sorry; this adventure is fully booked.
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