A new provincial park is a rare thing. Vast tracts of aren't really just lying around waiting to be re-purposed, especially not if they've been privately owned for a long time. Typically when land of this calibre and proximity to the city becomes avaialable it's rapidly ripped apart and turned into Condo and housing developments in a spectacle reminiscent of a cow being devoured by a school of piranhas. However, that's not what happened last week at all.
In 2006, the Alberta Government purchased over 1,300 acres of land from the Harvie Family, and has spent the last six years developing it into a Provincial park. It already has 25 km of trails, many of which are paved for cycling. The access to this land is located about 35 kilometres from downtown Calgary, basically right next to the town of Cochrane. The land itself is actually pretty spread out, and is shaped kind of like... You know what? Here, take a look for yourself.
The terrain is quite varied for such small sampling of the province, and The park preserves and protects some significant natural and cultural features, including examples of endangered ecosystems and rare species, First Nations and early ranching settlements.
Now, keep in mind that, for now at least, this is a day-use only park. There is no overnight camping, no camp fires, and the park is only open during daylight hours. Another thing to keep in mind is the access to water. There is no potable water in this park. Well, none that's been declared potable, at least. So, bring plenty of water bottles, and a filtration system.
For more info you can check out the park's website at http://www.grpf.ca/.
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