A Walk In The Park

I went for a walk at Bowness Park yesterday. Bowness Park is a major regional park in Calgary. In the mid-twentieth century it was part of the small village of Bowness and was a weekend getaway for city dwellers looking for some rest and relaxation. In 1963, the village and the park were merged into the growing metropolis. The park remains a relaxing destination.

The main park is covered by manicured lawns, open forests, walking paths, picnic areas, and a well-known lagoon. Adjacent to the park is the Bowness Forest, a wild and natural treed land clinging to a precipitous hillside adjacent to the Bow River.

The natural area is home to one of two stands of Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir trees in Calgary — the eastern most stands of this magnificent conifer species. The Bowness grove, known officially as Wood’s Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary, is a provincial Heritage Place listed in the Alberta Heritage Registry:

The inland variety of the Rocky Mountain Douglas fir is a majestic, imposing tree; the largest species of tree in Alberta, it can measure over 1 metre in diameter and rise up to 45 metres tall. With a potential lifespan of up to 400 years, the Rocky Mountain Douglas fir tree is also one of the most enduring tree species in Alberta. Some trees in the sanctuary are several centuries old.

On the very chilly second day of Spring, 2013, I made the grove of Douglas Fir trees my destination. I have started a project to locate and photography the Calgary trees listed as Heritage Trees by the Heritage Tree Foundation of Alberta, and these Douglas Fir Trees are on this list. So, with fairly rough GPS co-ordinates (the trees are discernible in Google satellite images), I headed into the park to explore, enjoy nature, and snap a few pictures.

Having spent most of my childhood free-time roaming wild in the Bowness forest I knew that it was dense and dark place. I knew that nothing but an ultra-wide lens would be capable of capturing the entirety of the massive Douglas Firs. However, I wanted to travel light so I just took my iPhone 5 and ōlloclip 3-in-1 fisheye/wide-angle/macro adapter. As It turns out, the space is so confined and the trees are so large that there really is no way to photography the entirety of these trees.

Bowness Park is currently undergoing renovations and the nearest parking lot is quite far from the Doulas Fir grove. That is for the best I suppose. I got a lot of nice shots walking to and from the grove, so I was happy.

The Douglas Fir trees appear in photos 23 to 29, and 31.


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