Interpretive trail signage installed in Willow Park Natural Area
The next time you enjoy a leisurely stroll along the trails in Willow Park in Stony Plain, you just might receive an education about this beautiful area at the same time.
The Town of Stony Plain has installed new interpretive signage throughout the Willow Park Natural Area, with the intent of informing the public about the rich natural resources located here. Mayor William Choy officially unveiled the new signs on Tues., Sept. 18. The educational signage is Phase III of the Willow Park Natural Area Revitalization Project. Nine signs have been installed, and two more will be put up before ground-freeze this year. The attractively designed signs feature images of native species and informative descriptions on woodlots, grasslands and aquatic life in the area.
“Our trails are one of this community’s most fantastic resources, and this section meanders through one of the best natural resources we have," Choy said. "These signs will not only help educate the public about the natural riches here, but will also help generate community pride and bring residents to the area.”
Welcome signs greet trail users at each access point, and additional signs boast information on preventing and controlling the spread of invasive plants and the purpose of storm water management ponds. A new trail map has also been installed at the junction of the Willow Park and High Park trails.
Funding for development and installation of the educational signage was sourced from a grant from TD Green Streets, the flagship program of Tree Canada. One of many initiatives supported by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF), TD Green Streets is the only nationally based municipal forestry innovation program in the country.
About the Willow Park Natural Area Revitalization Project
Launched in 2010, the Willow Park Natural Area Revitalization Project is intended to enhance the area immediately east of the Willow Park sub-division in Stony Plain. As this naturalized green space is home to a wide variety of small wildlife and native vegetation, the Town designated the area as a natural urban reserve in 2009. A wide range of native grasses, trees and shrubs grow in the area, and many birds and small wildlife have returned to habitat here.
The approximately $40,000 venture involved carefully planned operational and capital treatments of the area, to preserve the biodiversity and wildlife habitat within this wildland-urban interface.
The Willow Park Natural Area was first cleared in 1982 for installation of the East Trunk Sanitary Sewer, and again – from 2001 to 2003, for development of a storm-water management pond (additional improvements were completed in 2009).
Completed in 2010, Phase I of the project included operational treatments of the area, including mechanical weed control; installation of fencing and a gate along the southern edge of the region (parallel to Highway #628); mowing the grassed pathways; and monitoring and treating native grassy areas to encourage continued growth.
Phase II, which was completed in 2011, boasts several enhancements, such as construction of approximately 150 metres of multi-purpose trails; leveling and seeding of park areas directly behind residential properties; and planting trees to increase biodiversity and provide better coverage for native bird and wildlife.
The Town of Stony Plain is committed protecting our natural resources and promoting responsible consumption patterns that encourage living within our ecological limits. Environmental Responsibility is one of the four core values of the Community Sustainability Plan, which governs how the Town of Stony Plain conducts its business.