A major overhaul of a park in northwest Calgary will bring new off-leash boundaries as the city tries to better protect sensitive habitats in the area.

The city is in the planning stages for improvements to the Bowmont Park Natural Area, which encompasses over 165 hectares of forest, grasslands and river habitats along the north shore of the Bow River from Home Road to 85th Street N.W.

In order to bring back fish to the river and restore bird nesting areas, off-leash zones in the park will have to be redrawn, said city parks official Chris Manderson.  

"After about 10 years of looking at it, it was apparent that we were still seeing degradation in these areas. So we decided we would pull the off-leash back from some of those areas," he said.

The city also plans to incorporate the former Klippert gravel pit at the east end of the land into Bowmont Park.

"The primary approach of the project is to restore the site to native habitat while accommodating sustainable, compatible public use," the city said.

"In addition, off-leash boundaries throughout the entire park will be adjusted to improve sight lines, protect sensitive areas and improve safety in and around high use spots in the park."

At the western edge of the park, the former Fournier property will also be incorporated, adding seven hectares — with interpretive trail loops — to the natural area.

The city is also building two wet ponds in the park as part of a stormwater retrofit project.

The off-leash area and parking lot off Bearspaw Dam Road at 85th Street N.W. is closed during construction of the ponds.

A survey is available on the city’s website for people to give their input on the project.