Blog post 

Naturalization on Parkland County Public Lands

Many recreational parks in Parkland County are near lakes and rivers and provide a wide range of recreational opportunities for residents, allowing them to enjoy the diversity of the County’s natural space. Parkland County is working to improve the natural features within our parks by initiating a community-led naturalization project at the Jack Fish Lake Day Use area.

Operating these parks involves a balance between providing recreational spaces for various activities while maintaining the health and native vegetation of these landscapes. For many of the lakefront parks, maintaining and enhancing native vegetation can improve the ecological function of the area by preventing excess nutrients from entering lakes, reducing soil erosion and sedimentation, and providing important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.

Naturalization is the process of allowing native vegetation to regrow (either naturally or through plantings) on previously disturbed lands to improve natural features. With the Jack sh Lake naturalization project, one aspect of the project being proposed is to naturalize the underutilized grass areas by planting native trees, shrubs, and forbs, and through seeding native grasses. The project will also naturalize the drainage channel by planting willows and other water loving shrubs or grasses to reduce the potential for erosion during heavy rainstorms.

The benefits of this project include:
  • creation of wildlife habitat
  •  improving the ecological health of the surrounding landscape
  • creating a more enjoyable experience for residents and visitors to the park
  • reducing the costs of upkeep for activities such as mowing the turf and maintenance of structures such as riprap and dredged canals.

The project is intended to be a community-led project with participation of residents and community groups, including the Jackfish Lake Management Association.