Related Blog Posts

  • Hit the Trails – Central Alberta Bicycle Club

    Red Deer is home to nearly 100,000 people, and in the recent integrated movement study it was found that nearly 80% of those work within 5km of their home. Evan Harbinson, secretary of the Central Alberta Bicyle Club (CABC), said that knowing how close people work to where they live, it’s curious as to why more people aren’t on bicycles. “People just need to get out of their cars and big trucks and hop on a bike. It might be five to ten minutes longer than driving, but with bike lanes and the trails there is no reason why you couldn’t get around cycling,” said Harbinson. As a part of the CABC Harbsinon takes part in many weekly rides including the mountain bike rides from Wipe Out Ski & Bike on Monday’s and Thursday’s. “We have a very mixed group some beginner and entry level but we also have some provincial and national racers in road and mountain bike riders.” He said the general public are more than welcome to join the CABC for these rides. People are also invited to become a member of the CABC for a nominal annual fee, which also provides them a discount at Wipe Out Ski & Bike. “Our rides always depend on the group. If we have a lot of beginners we do about an hour, or if we have a lot of advanced riders we will go as long as three hours or anywhere in between.” He pointed out that the rides are not regimented and if people only want to ride half of the route they are welcome to do so. The trail system in Red Deer is one feature of the City that many walkers, cyclists, hikers, joggers and runners utilize frequently. “The trails are extensive and you can get from one end of the City to the other and really not touch the roads. They’re all linked whether it be from Bower Ponds, Heritage Ranch, Mackenzie Trails or anywhere else. They’re really well looked after and very kid friendly.” Harbinson also pointed out that people are welcome to bring their children whether they be in bike trailers or trying the trails out for themselves. “Last year we had about 20-25 people riding and six or eight of those were kids.” The CABC even rides in the winter, within reason. “We ride to about -20 and try to stay in the trees and out of the wind. It’s a good work out in the snow and we usually end up following a path that someone has walked.” He added that the group is very friendly and there are a lot of years of experience behind many of the cyclists. “People can come and learn a lot too just by coming out and asking questions or taking part in the whole or part of the ride for the evening.” The Monday and Thursday night bike rides start at 6 p.m. so they are at a time where even someone who works full time could attend. Harbinson did say that vehicular commuters could be a bit more bike friendly but that over all the City is well set up for cyclists. “People just need to be more bike friendly whether that means sharing the road with us or getting on their own bike and joining us. We’re just out to get some air and stay fit, we all have kids and don’t want to get hit by a car or anything. Just watch for bikes and share the road.”
  • Park Trail System

    Red Deer’s beautiful parks and natural green spaces are well known throughout Alberta with over 100 km of easily accessible, paved, hiking and equestrian trails connecting park users to beautiful green areas and park attractions. Biking, hiking, jogging, bird watching, picnics and peaceful walks can all be enjoyed in various parks and facilities within the Waskasoo Park trail system. A water playground, western ranch and wildlife sanctuary are some of the many highlights within the City’s park system. Read More
  • Birding in Central Alberta

    While Central Alberta cannot rival such places as the Amazon Rainforest or Costa Rice for bird numbers and variety, the region is richly endowed with a wide diversity of bird species. Finding these wild creatures is just a matter of knowing where and when to look. Fall and spring migration is a time when the woods are alive with the twittering of warblers and sparrows, the beaches are dotted with shorebirds, and many wetlands are crammed with geese and ducks. Read More
  • Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

    Close Encounters

    It was sometime after midnight and Judy Boyd, an avid birder, was sitting inside the observation tower at Medicine River Wildlife Centre with other local birders listening to a cacophony of sounds coming from the surrounding Boreal Forest. The group was participating in something called “The Big Sit” and the concept was simple – find a good spot for bird watching, sit in that spot for 24 hours, and count all the bird species you see or hear. It was a sedentary activity, but it was anything but boring. “Birding is amazing after dark,” said Boyd, a Red Deer resident and coauthor of The Birding Guide for Central Alberta. “The night is alive with sounds – frogs, owls and other night birds.” The most exciting moment came at some point in the wee hours of the morning when the group heard the distinctive hooting call of a Barred Owl, a species that is rarely seen or heard in Central Alberta and has a distinct call that sounds like: “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” The Central Zone is a popular birding destination. Dotted with marshes and pothole lakes, the area serves as the meeting point of three Natural Regions – the Prairies, Boreal Forest, and Aspen Parkland. There is an abundance of waterfowl nesting habitat in Central Alberta and a diverse array of birdlife can be found throughout the various regions. Red Deer is also home to Alberta’s first federal migratory bird sanctuary and a very active community of birders and naturalists who offer free bird walks, a free online and printed bird guide, a bird checklist, and host events like “The Big Sit.” Backyard birders, families and nature lovers also enjoy visiting Ellis Bird Farm where they can see Mountain Bluebirds, Purple Martins, Tree Swallows, and many other species and learn about cutting edge scientific research that is conducted at the farm. Birds can be seen while walking the trails, dining at the teahouse or while strolling through the beautiful and diverse naturescape gardens. “Every time I go out my door I am birding,” said Boyd. “Birding is fun and nature never ceases to amaze me.”

    Birding in the Red Deer Area

    Ellis Bird Farm

    Located just 35 minutes northeast of Red Deer, Ellis Bird Farm is an excellent spot for bird watching. The farm has extensive wetlands and hosts a large purple martin colony, a large collection of nestboxes and demonstration wildlife gardens, all connected with wheelchair-accessible paths. Nature-based events and workshops are held throughout the summer season (May to September).

    Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary

    Just outside the back door of Kerry Wood Nature Centre is 300 acres of protected area. With five kilometres of trails, viewing decks and a birdblind, the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary is the perfect place, to view a variety of habitats for plants, mammals and birds.

    Kerry Wood Nature Centre

    Located within Red Deer’s Waskasoo Park System, the Kerry Wood Nature Centre is a year-round interpretive centre, offering extensive natural history and environmental education programs and exhibits. Look for all new permanent exhibits late in 2015.

    Slack Slough

    This extensive bulrush marsh and adjacent wetlands is an exceptional area for viewing waterfowl, including a variety of diving and dabbling ducks, and a diversity of marsh and shore birds. Canada geese, common goldeneyes and buffleheads are common in spring and summer. Tundra swans frequent the area during migration. Located east of Hwy 2, off McKenzie Rd. at the south end of Red Deer.

    The Red Deer River Naturalists have published two birding trail maps: one for the City of Red Deer and one for Central Alberta. Maps are available at Kerry Wood Nature Centre, Ellis Bird Farm as well as other locations around Central Alberta. Check out for details.