GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE CALGARY MAP SHEET AREA, 82 O
The Canada Land Inventory provides one of the most comprehensive digital map source for resource planning ad management in Canada. The area covered by the CLI is indicated in the index map. For each of the map sheets areas land capability is mapped at 1:250'000 scale and usually at a 1:50'000 scale. This is an example for Mapsheet 82 0, Calgary. The index map on the right shows the areas mapped for land capability under the CLI. The left image shows an example of a number of overlays displayed on Google Earth.
Each of the 1.250'000 scale maps has an extensive description of the landscape ecosystem and capability perspectives. Below is an example for the Calgary map area.
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The area covered by the Calgary map sheet is in western Alberta, except for a small part of the southwest, which is in British Columbia. The area comprises about 5900 square miles. The city of Calgary in the southeast is the main population center. Small towns are scattered throughout the eastern part of the area and also westward along the Calgary-Banff highway. Banff National Park occupies much of the western and southwestern parts of the area.
The Rocky Mountains and Foothills, which occupy most of the western part, are the most outstanding topographic features in the area. Mountain elevations exceed 10.000 feet above sea level in many places. However, elevations decrease from west to east across the foothills to 3200 feet on the undulating plain.
The Red Deer and Bow rivers and their tributaries drain the area. The main tributaries of the Red Deer River are the Clearwater, James, and Little Red Deer rivers and Fallentimber Creek. The Ghost, Kananaskis, and Elbow rivers and Jumpingpound and Nose creeks empty into the Bow River. Except for Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park, there are few large lakes in the area.
In the eastern part of the area mixed farming is the main source of income for the local residents. Tourism, lumbering, and oil and gas exploration also contribute to the economy. The foothills and the mountains provide big game hunting and sport fishing. The town of Banff, located in Banff National Park, is the most important tourist and ski resort in Alberta.
In general, the climate is continental in nature, with warm summers and cold winters. The mean temperature for January, the coldest month, is about 100 to 120 F and the mean temperature for July, the warmest month, varies from 560 to 600 F. There is insufficient data within the mountainous portions for any reliable climatic information. The frost-free period varies from over 90 days in the east to less than 50 days in the extreme west. The number of growing degree-days above 420 F varies from 2200 in the east to less than 1400 in the west. Some of the mountains on the western edge of the area are snowcapped throughout the year.
Precipitation varies from 18 inches at Calgary and Olds to over 20 inches in the west. Most of this falls during the growing season and, consequently, there is a fairly low water deficit. Hail occurs quite frequently between Calgary and Bowden.
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Most of the area has been glaciated either by the Laurentide Ice Sheet or the Cordilleran Ice Sheet. Evidences of western glaciation extend eastward to a line joining Eagle Hill in the north to Nose Hill in the south. As a result of post-glacial sortation, soils have developed on lacustrine, alluvial, and aeolian materials as well as till.
The Paskapoo Formation of the Tertiary period is the uppermost bedrock east of a line joining Township 37, Range 9, W5 to Mitford in Township 26, Range 5, W5. West of this line Cretaceous and older formations are exposed because of the Rocky Mountain uplift. The parent material of the soils west of this line have a variable formation origin, whereas those east of this line are derived mainly from the Paskapoo Formation.
The topography in the foothills has a northwest and southwest direction because it is controlled by the underlying bedrock. Chernozemic soils are found mainly east of a north and south line through Westward Ho and Mitford. These are exceptionally thick, black soils. On undulating topography the soils capability of these soils is rated as Class 1 or 2, depending upon the climatic zone. Most of these Chernozemic soils are medium textured and are subject to wind erosion in early spring if proper conservation practices are not followed.
Gray Wooded soils are found west of the Black soil zone. They are rated classes 3 to 5, depending upon the climate. Generally only those lands with undulating to gently rolling topography are cultivated. Brunisol and Podzol soils are found mostly in the foothills. At present very few are utilized for agriculture because the slopes are too steep or the land is used for lumbering purposes. These soils are generally rated as Classes 5 and 6. Regosols and Gleysols occur mostly in the western foothills and in the mountains. They are not being used for agricultural purposes.
Gleysols comprise about in percent of the area and create quite a pattern in some lands of the Black soil zone. They are rated as Class 5 or 6. Organic soils comprise a very small percentage of the area and are confined mainly to the western part of the area.
Ranching was the original agricultural practice in the area during the decade from 1880 to 1890. With the coming of the railway in 1885 settlement began and with the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway from Calgary to Edmonton in 1891 to 1892 settlement spread west and east from this line. Most of the better land was settled by 1941 and now only the marginal lands are being developed west of a line through Bergen and Cochrane.
Coarse grain, wheat, forage, and hay are the main crops grown. Because much of the area lies in the Calgary milkshed dairying is a main agricultural industry. In the marginal agricultural lands next to the Forest Reserve, farms are small and inefficient. Most of the farmers supplement their income by working in the oil industry or at lumbering.
The western part of the area is more suitable for lumbering and recreational purposes than for agriculture. There are two main Indian reserves in the area, the Stony Indian Reserve at Morley, which is primarily used for grazing purposes, and a portion of the Sarcee Indian Reserve near Calgary, which has soils more suited for cereals. These reserves have not been developed to their fullest extent.
Capability classification by T. W. Petew and S. S. Kocaoglu.
The area is underlain by Tertiary and Cretaceous sandstone and shale bedrock, which has been greatly modified by glaciation. The Cordilleran glacier from the mountains and the Keewatin or Laurentide glacier from Hudson Bay once covered most of the area. As a result, the soils have developed on glacial till, lacustrine, alluvial, and aeolian materials.
Black Chernozemic soils are found over most of the eastern third of the area. The soils in the rest of the area are mostly Gray Luvisols (Gray Wooded), with smaller amounts of Regosolic, Gleysolic, and Organic soils. These soils are mainly clay and silty loam textured, although sand and gravel beds are common along the streams and rivers.
Most of the Black soil zone is covered by the Aspen Grove Section (aspen parkland) of the Boreal Forest Region, where trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) and balsam poplar (P. balsamifera) are the main tree species. Common shrubs found here include western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis), wild roses (Rose spp.), saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia), red choke cherry (Prunus virginiana), willows (Salix spp.), and alders (Alnus spp.). West of the aspen parkland and extending up to 4000 feet in elevation is the Lower Foothills Section of the Boreal Forest Region. Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) is the most common species here, but associated trees include trembling aspen, balsam poplar, white spruce (Picea glauca), black spruce (P. mariana), white birch (Betula papyrifera), and tamarack (Larix laricina). Above the Lower Foothills Section are the Upper Foothills Section and the Subalpine Forest Region. Lodgepole pine dominates in the Upper Foothills, whereas Englemann spruce (Picea engelmannii) is most common, along with lodgepole pine and alpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa), in the Subalpine Forest Region.
A variety of aquatic habitats are found throughout the area. In the Black soil zone of the eastern part of the area, the sloughs and lakes generally have an abundant growth of submergent and emergent vegetation. Cattail (Typha latifolia), bulrushes (Scirpus spp.), and sedges (Carer spp.) are commonly found along the shore and in shallow water. Also found near the shore and on the uplands are rushes (Juncus spp.), sedges, willows, and various grasses, such as reed grasses (Calamagrostis spp.) and blue grasses (Pea spp.). These water bodies also support sage pondweed (Potamogeton pectinatus), clasping-leaf pondweed (P. richardsonii), small pondweed (P. pusillus), northern water-milfoil (Myriophyllum eralbescens), common coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum), and duckweeds (Lemna spp.).
West of the Black soil zone, the Boreal Forest dominates and the quality of the aquatic environment decreases significantly. Aquatic vegetation is greatly reduced and in low, poorly drained parts bogs or muskegs are the dominant aquatic community. Vegetation commonly found here includes black spruce, tamarack, scrub birch (Betula glandulosa), sedges, sphagnum mosses, Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum), and cranberries (Vaccinium spp.).
The dominant forest cover types found in the area are pines (Pinus spp.), spruces (Picea spp.), trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides), balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera), and willows (Saliw spp.). Browse species in the area that are important to ungulates include willows, shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), roses (Rosa spp.), cranberries (Viburnum spp.), saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia), russet or Canada buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis), green alder (Alnus cn'spa), Labrador-tea (Ledum groenlandicum), and twinflower (Linnaea borealis).
Some of the main forbs in the area are northern bedstraw (Galium boreale). fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), yarrows (Achillea spp.), astecs (Aster spp.), wintergreens (Pyrola spp.), strawberry (Flagan'a sp.), bunchberry (Comus canadensis), wild peavine (Lathyrus venosus), geraniums (Geranium spp.), and tall larkspur (Delphinium glaucum).
Ungulate species that inhabit the area are white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), moose (Alces a/ces), elk (Cervus canadensis), Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), and mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus). Moose, elk, and deer populate the foothills region, whereas mountain sheep and mountain goats are found on mountain ranges with exposed south and southwest-facing slopes.
The area has a good potential for ungulate production in locations neighboring Banff National Park and in the Bow River Valley. Sites rated Class 1W are found at Ya Ha Tinda Ranch, Dogrib Creek and parts of the Clearwater River.
A large part of the Ghost River wilderness, the Scalp Creek region, the northern part of Little Red Deer River, the southern reaches of the Rosebud and Red Deer rivers and Sheep Coulee are all rated Class 2W. The only Class 2 sites in the area are located on the northern border.
Sites rated Class 3W include Fallentimber, Limestone, Jumpingpound. Pigeon, and Sheep creeks the headwaters of Dogpound Creek and Little Red Deer River, and the Canmore region. Class 3 lands are found around Forbidden Creek, Burnstick Lake, Bow River valley, Stony Indian Reserve, Barrier Lake, the northern part of Red Deer River, and a part of Ghost River lying west of Ghost Lake.
Class 4 and 5 lands occupy about 85 percent of the area and are mainly hilly and dry. The area supports extensive hunting and recreational use.
Capability classification by G. Gunderson. Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division, 1970.
Waterfowl production occurs mainly in the eastern part of the area. Where the habitat is suitable for surface-feeding ducks, such species as the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), American Widgeon or Baldpate (Mareca americana), Shoveler (Spatula clypeata), Pintail (A. acute), Gadwall (A. strepera), and Blue-winged Teal (A. discors) may be found. On the deeper water, diving ducks such as the Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis), Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), Redhead (A. americana), and Canvasback (A. valisineria) are most common.
Lakes and marshes that have emergent fringes of cattail, bulrushes, and sedges, backed by uplands of grasses, sedges, and willows, provide excellent nesting and protective cover for waterfowl. The seeds and roots of aquatic plants and the invertebrate animals of the pond provide the main food supply during the summer. Shallow water bodies that have abundant growths of aquatic vegetation are usually found in Class 1, 2, and 3 units. These units occur only on the large knob-and-kettle moraine that extends from the eastcentral part of the area to Calgary. Several individual sloughs and lakes in the eastern part of the area have been rated Class 1, 2, or 3, the best of which is Barrie Lake (Class 1S) southwest of Olds.
Most of the Class 4 and 5 units are found on the undulating land in the east. Adverse topography (usually too flat) and poor interspersion of wetland types are the main limitations. Several large, shallow, meadow basins are found in these Class 4 and 5 units. In years of high rainfall they may hold water throughout the summer, but normally they are dry by July and the basin is often choked with foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum). Low soil and water fertility are important limitations for the sloughs in the forested parts of the area.
Most of the area is rated Class 6 and 7. Adverse topography, which is too flat in the eastern part and too steep in the foothills and mountains, is the main limitation. Climatic limitations are common in the mountain regions, where the ice-free period of many lakes is too short to accommodate normal waterfowl production.
The British Columbia part of the area, which occupies the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains, has a very low capability for waterfowl because of the extremely rugged topography and severe climate.
Because it lacks good habitat and is located west of the main migration routes through Alberta, the area has very low concentrations of waterfowl in the fall. Consequently, hunting pressure is light during the fall months.
Capabilty classification by C.D. Schinck and E.W. Taylor, Canadian Wildlife Service.
The area has very little potential for intensive, water-based recreation, but has a high capability to support extensive, upland-oriented recreational activities. Skiing is the major intensive-oriented activity in the area. None of the few lakes in the area have sandy beaches. Burnstick, Chilver, and Chiniki lakes are excellent for organized camping and associated activities or for cottaging. They all have scenic settings, offering a panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains. Fishing and boating are possible on these lakes, adding to their overall capability for recreational use. Lac des Arcs, Barrier Lake, and the Ghost and Bearspaw reservoirs have good potential for camping, cottaging, fishing, boating, and viewing.
Throughout the area there are many viewpoints that offer excellent views of the immediate surroundings and the distant landscape. The topographic relief in the foothills makes possible a wide range of dispersed activities, such as hiking, riding, touring, picnicking, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Big game hunting has excellent possibilities in the foothills and mountains, whereas upland and wetland game bird hunting is possible on the plains.
The greatest potential in the upland is found in rivers and streams and their valleys. Stream valleys are often very scenic and provide opportunities for organized camping, fishing, and viewing. Viewing along streams is further enhanced by waterfalls or interesting landforms. Only the larger Bow and Red Deer rivers have good potential for canoeing.
Several sites present adequate relief for ski developments. Because such sites depend on sufficient snowfall, only those that are presently developed have been mapped. There is little or no information available on snow conditions in the area Historic rock writings south of Canmore present a particular feature of some recreational value. Because this feature cannot sustain intensive use, limited viewing and interpretation are the primary activities associated with it. Attractive vegetation, such as park like stands of lodgepole pine, often adds to the recreational potential.
Capability classification for Alberta by K. A. Novakowski and W. D. Munn and for British Columbia (1968) by D. R. Benn, W. C. Yeomans and Associates Ltd. for the British Columbia Department of Agriculture.
In general, the climate of the area is cool and moderately humid Precipitation ranges from about 20 inches annually at lower elevations in the east up to 50 inches at higher elevations in the west; there is a corresponding decrease in the length of growing season with elevation The notable influence of chinook winds, particularly along the Bow River valley, decreases with the increasing latitude The area is mainly within the Subalpine Forest. Montane Forest. and Boreal Forest regions. The Grassland in the east and the Alpine Region in the west of the area are of secondary areal importance.
The East Slope Rockies Section of the Subalpine Forest Region covers the ea stern slopes of the Rocky Mountains and adjacent foothills from about 5000 to 6800 feet in elevation The general relief rises to the west, the Subalpine Region often being interspersed with higher prominences of sedimentary rock or being restricted to narrow creek and river valleys.
The forest is mainly coniferous The main tree species are Engelmann spruce and lodgepole pine Lodgepole pine predominates on burned sites. At higher elevations, alpine fir is abundant as an understory in older spruce stands and alpine larch and limber pine are common on exposed slopes and shallow to bedrock soils Trembling aspen and balsam poplar are most prevalent at lower elevations, Balsam poplar is mainly associated with recent alluvial deposits and seepage slopes Low temperatures combined with a short growing season are considered to be the main climatic limitations restricting forest growth to an optimum capability of Class 3. Class 3 ratings occur predominantly on fine textured. moderately well drained, alluvial soils and on moderately well drained. medium textured Podzols on south facing slopes. Limited sites of Class 3 soils occur at lower elevations on imperfectly drained north-facing slopes
At higher elevations from 5500 to 6500 feet throughout the Subalpine Region. the short cool growing season rather than the amount of precipitation further limits the forest capability Low soil temperatures and cool air drainage, associated with imperfectly drained medium textured till and alluvial deposits, limit forest capability to Class 4 for Engelmann spruce. At lower elevations, limited annual precipitation and related soil conditions are the main limiting factors. Class 4 soils occur mainly on imperfectly drained medium textured north-facing slopes and in shaded valleys In general, the fairly low capability for the region as a whole is attributable to moisture deficiency. Moisture deficiency is a result of steep slopes causing rapid runoff, shallowness to bedrock, coarse soil texture, and local climate. Local climate is affected by aridity caused by exposure or wind. or both, and lack of rainfall. The degree of limitation or combination of limiting factors is reflected in the assigned capability class.
The Douglas-fir and Lodgepole Pine Section of the Montane Forest Region occupies the lower elevations of the Bow River valley to an elevation of about 4500 feet. From the western boundary of the area, this section extends to the eastern shore of Ghost Lake. A small tip follows the Kananaskis River valley south to Barrier Lake. The highest capability found within this region is Class 4 for white spruce These sites occur on the inundated and braided floodplain of the Bow River in the vicinity of Canmore. South-facing slopes and coarse outwash terraces adjacent to the Bow River valley are rated Classes 6 and 7, mainly for trembling aspen. Limited sites in the vicinity of Chiniki Lake are rated Class 5 for lodgepole pine. Limber pine occurs on rocky outcrops and stony soils, whereas sparse stands of Douglas-fir are confined to warm dry slopes.
The Boreal Forest Region is represented by the Upper Foothills, Lower Foothills. and Aspen Grove sections. Running throughout the center of the area are the southern tips of the Lower and Upper Foothills sections The distinctive tree species at lower elevations are lodgepole pine, trembling aspen, and balsam poplar. which have assumed a dominant position over much of the area in the wake of file. White spruce occurs throughout this region. The best stands of white spruce are found on protected. moderately well to imperfectly drained north-facing slopes and alluvial floodplains. Limited stands of black spruce are associated with poorly drained depressions. At higher elevations, Engelmann white spruce hybrid, white spruce, and lodgepole pine are the main tree species with alpine fir as an understory in older spruce stands.
The capability of the Lower and Upper Foothills sections is highest in the northwest. Limited regions of soils that have a Class 3 rating are most common here and occur on moderately well drained north-facing slopes and alluvial soils associated with valley bottoms. In the southeast, Class 3 sites ate sporadic and are confined to imperfectly drained north-facing slopes. Well-drained Gray Luvisols, podzolized tills. and alluvial deposits are rated Class 4 for white spruce and lodgepole pine. Because of moisture deficiency, coarse textured outwash deposits and exposed slopes are downgraded to Class 5 for lodgepole pine White spruce and lodgepole pine have been used as indicator species for Class S soils and occur on protected slopes in the eastern part of the Boreal Forest Region.
Class 6 and 7 sites are a result of a combination of factors resulting in moisture deficiency, such as wind and sun exposure and steeply sloping, shallow to bedrock soils. Trembling aspen is the usual indicator species on the lower elevation Class 6 soils. Sites with a combination of aridity and poor soil drainage often associated with glaciofluvial deposits are rated Class 7.
The Aspen Grove Section of the Boreal Forest Region occupies the east-central part of the area. Trembling aspen is the main tree species, and balsam poplar is found along recent alluvial deposits bordering streams. White spruce occurs to a limited extent as an understory of trembling aspen on Gray Luvisol soils in the west. Well-drained till and alluvial-lacustrine deposits are rated Class 4 for trembling aspen. Limited sites rated Class 3 occur along the alluvial floodplains Because of moisture deficiency, alluvial-eolian deposits are downgraded to Class 5 for trembling aspen. White spruce has been used as the indicator species on the poorly drained till and alluvial-lacustrine deposits. Very poorly drained soils and organic deposits, where excess moisture is the main limitation. are rated Classes 6 and 7 for black spruce north of the Red Deer River.
In the eastern and southeastern parts of the area lie the Grassland Region. Because of the typical prairie conditions characterized by complete lack of forest cover, limited precipitation, high temperature. and extreme evaporation caused by strong prevailing winds and exposure, this region is not considered as productive forest land. Therefore, Class 7 indicates the maximum capability. A climatic limitation has been inferred but no indicator species has been shown in this class. The soils are predominantly thin Black and Brown Chernozemic soils, which reflect the grassland nature of this region. Scattered throughout the area along the draws and in the basins are soils capable of supporting scattered slow-growing stands of trembling aspen.
The Alpine Region occupies the land from about 6500 to 7000 feet in elevation Most of this region is exposed bedrock and is rated Class 7 without an indicator species, since the severity of the climate and lack of soils available precludes the tree growth Interspersed within the bedrock are sheltered pockets of deeper soils. These sites are rated Class 6 and represent the maximum capability for the region. Here, alpine fir was used as the indicator species
Capability classification by M. J. Romaine and J. R. Prokopchuk, Alberta Forest Service, Department of Lands and Forests, and Z. J. Nemeth, Canadian Forestry Service, Environment Canada 1969.
Eastern Rockies Forest Conservation Board. 1969. Conservation Unit Guide, Part II. Kananaskis - Highwood Conservation Unit 82. Calgary, Alberta. Rowe J. S. 1959. Forest regions of Canada. Bull. 123. Forestry Branch, Canada Dep Northern Affairs and National Resources. Queen~s Printer, Ottawa.
Wyatt, F. A., J. D. Newton, W. E. Bowser, and W. Odynsky 1943 Soil survey of Rosebud and Banft sheets. Bull. 40. Dep. Extension, College of Agriculture, Univ Alberta. Edmonton, Alberta.