Ambassador Update - Glenmore Reservoir

Words by Paul Kolman

Hey there, Paddlers

We're in mid Fall now and winter is slowly letting us know it's on it's way, with a few early light snowfalls. This is not good news for us kayakers. Not at all. Just like bears going on a feeding frenzy to get as much to eat as they can to prepare for the long winter, us dedicated kayakers are doing the same and trying to get as much time on the water while it's still liquid. Sure, one can always go and visit a warmer climate and paddle there, but it's just not the same as paddling in the beautiful area we live in. At least for me. I love the lakes we have and the spectacular scenery they have to offer.

Here in Calgary we are especially fortunate to have a fair size body of water we can paddle on without even having to leave the city.

For those not familiar with Calgary, the Glenmore Reservoir is a large reservoir on the Elbow River in the southwest quadrant of Calgary, Alberta, created by the Glenmore Dam that holds back the reservoir. It is a primary source of drinking water to the city. Swimming is not allowed in it. It is surrounded by a large green space. South Glenmore park and North Glenmore park surround the reservoir. They are connected on the west end by the Weaselhead Natural area.

The Glenmore Reservoir opens May 1st (if clear of ice) and closes October 31 for boating. The reservoir is enjoyed by many different types of non-motorized vessels. Kayaks, canoes, sailboats, row boats etc. Motor boats are not allowed on the reservoir with the exception of the rescue patrol boat, thus making it stress free environment to enjoy our water sport. One does not have to worry about speed boats etc and can enjoy a beautiful day or evening on water.


When you get up into the Weaselhead area it's hard to believe you are actually in the middle of a large city. There are times when I'm paddling there, that you don't see or hear any noise pollution. It feels like you are actually away from the city. How lucky we are.

Being on the water there one can enjoy beautiful scenery, fauna and flora alike. All kinds of waterfowl and animals make the reservoir their home. Birds such as eagles, hawks, cormorants, pelicans, swans, geese, ducks and others can be viewed.

Along the shore one can also see deer, coyotes and elk. Once in a while even a bear and moose wonder into the area, though I personally haven't seen them.

When you get into to Weaselhead area in the evenings you can also watch beavers and muskrats.

This year was a bit different from other years on the reservoir. The dam that holds back the water is being worked on. As a result the water level was dropped quite low and only a small portion of the lake was available to paddle on. That was a bummer so I didn't paddle there too much earlier in the season. Areas that are normally covered with water were left exposed, especially in the Weaselhead area.

 It did give you a different perspective of the reservoir.  It actually felt like you were paddling on a totally different body of water. Paddling into the Weaselhead area was impossible. By  late August though the reservoir's level finally started rising as the work on the dam is nearing completion. One can now paddle into the Weaselhead a little ways. Not as far up the Elbow River as usual but can make it up to the pedestrian bridge crossing the river there.

Finally it's great to paddle there again. An escape from the busy city life, right in the middle of the city. Awesome. We only have a few more weeks to paddle there so I'm taking advantage of it as much as I can. The fall is also a great time to paddle there and watch the ever changing scenery as the leaves on the trees are changing color.

That's it for now. I'm looking forward to the next trip out.

Until next time.... 

May your paddles stay wet and your butts stay dry!

Bye for now!

By Paul Kolman