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Carstairs Nature Space plans outlined

Trails, gardening and native grass demonstration area under development
MVT Carstairs nature space 2
Inga Owen, left, Mitch Miller, and John Ing plant the first tree at the new Carstairs Nature Space on April 21. File photo/MVP Staff

CARSTAIRS - Town council has been updated on recent work and future plans for the new Carstairs Nature Space (CNS).

The review came from a Carstairs and District Agricultural Society delegation made up of Charlie Van Arnam, Kelly Casebeer and Jerry Roberts at the recent regularly scheduled council meeting.

The CNS is located on an 19-acre parcel on the east side of 10th Avenue just south of the rodeo grounds. The project is a joint effort between the Town of Carstairs and the Carstairs and District Agricultural Society.

To date, $114,345 has been donated in support of the CNS, with an additional $5,500 committed, council heard. 

In the planning stages since 2018, the CNS features a perimeter trail for walking that is also long enough for cross-country running in summer and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.

There will also be a small toboggan hill, an agriculture production, gardening and native grass demonstration area, water areas with cattails and other wetland vegetation.

Also included will be natural play areas for children, temporary seating can be set up for music and other performances, as well as places to sit and visit along the connecting paths among the trees.

Fundraising has come from various sources, including government and corporate grant programs, local and area businesses, service organizations, private contributions, and infrastructure suppliers.

In 2020, pathways were defined, a walking bridge installed, donors identified, design maps drawn and more than 500 trees planted.

In 2021 projects completed included moving and piling mulch from the golf course, preparing soil with topsoil and mulch, planting donor tree beds, preparing dog park shelterbelt, and installing the majority of the irrigation system.

Projects planned for 2022 include preparation and planting of meeting-area beds, building the education centre, constructing playground, placing entrance signs, planting agricultural area, and placing some garbage and recycling stations.

Plans for 2023 including planting remaining west side trees, planting on berm near railway tracks, building west side rail fence, and finalizing placement of garbage and recycling stations.

Plans for 2024 including constructing parking lot rail fence and placing entrance signs.

John Ing, director of parks and naturalized areas with the Town of Carstairs, said trees being planted at the site include tamarack, white spruce, black spruce, lodgepole pine, trembling aspen, green alder, and white paper birch, while bushes being planted include gooseberry, northern red currant, saskatoon, pin cherry, raspberry, low and high cranberry.

As well as the natural elements of the area, the CNS will also lend itself to education opportunities: for walking tours of the trees and signage for the many native tree species; examples of agricultural crops, forage crops and native grazing grasses; a sample garden to show how food can be grown; a wetland demonstration area; Arbour Day celebrations; and educational visits for locals and students from outside of the area.

Council accepted the delegation presentation as information.

Dan Singleton

About the Author: Dan Singleton

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