Town of Canmore

Centennial Park Wildlife Fencing

The perimeter of Centennial Park will be fenced to eliminate use of the area by ungulates, particularly elk. Elk have been using areas within the Town of Canmore for many years. As the town has grown, so too have the number and frequency of elk. Herds of 80 + elk have been observed at Lawrence Grassi Middle School and Centennial Park. Elk are potentially dangerous and present a public safety concern to school children, residents and the general public. The recent report from the Human Wildlife Coexistence Roundtable recommends reducing  human/wildlife conflict by preventing wildlife from accessing attractants within developed areas by using fencing to exclude ungulates from grass playing fields.

Fencing is considered a reliable, long term solution and an important step to discourage wildlife in town and encourage use of wildlife corridors and habitat patches throughout the valley. Fencing to exclude ungulates has proven successful in both Banff and Jasper. The project is funded collaboratively by the Town of Canmore and Alberta Environment and Parks. Other urban green spaces may also be fenced in subsequent years.

More information on human-wildlife coexistence is available here

Construction Timelines

This project is partially grant funded and a key recommendation from the Human Wildlife Co-existence Roundtable working group as part of managing wildlife within town boundaries in the future.We are following the direction of the provincial health authority and working with contractors to adjust their health & safety plan accordingly. 

Construction is almost complete and should be complete by mid-September.

Fence Design & Location

The existing fence around the perimeter of Centennial Park will be replaced with a standard 8’ wildlife fence. Self closing access and equipment gates will also be included with the design.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why fence green space?
To discourage elk and other carnivores from town and to minimize the risk to public safety.
Have other solutions been considered?
Yes. Hazing wildlife out of the area, however this is very costly; largely ineffective; and dangerous to the public, fish and wildlife officers and wildlife when done in our urban environment. Residents can help by removing hiding cover to discourage calving. Programs that include culling, increasing hunter harvest and translocation are options that could also be considered in the future but are not in place at the moment. 
Won't the animals just be displaced to other areas in town?
While we recognize there is a possibility that this could move elk into these areas, there is not the same amount of habitat to hold them for any length of time, particularly in the numbers we currently see at our playing fields/schools (up to 90 elk at times).  And the fencing will address the immediate risk to public safety in the park. Ideally elk will look for alternative areas to go outside of developed areas, such as local wildlife corridors and habitat patches, especially as the habitat in these areas is enhanced over the coming years. 

Who will pay for and maintain the fence?
Construction of the fence is a collaborative effort between Alberta Environment and Parks and the town. The town will maintain the fence.
What happens if elk get trapped inside the fence?
There are exit panels in the fence; these will be opened and the elk can exit.

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