Professional Learning

Hiking Information

Getting excited for your CPAWS Southern Alberta hike or snowshoe? We are too! But before we get to the all the fun, let's review some important details about your outdoor experience.

Table of Contents: 

  1. Introduction 
  2. Trip Itinerary 
  3. Contacts & Cancellation Policy
  4. Risks
  5. Emergency Response Plan
  6. FAQ 
  7. Planning Checklists 
  8. Important Documents

1. Introduction

Outdoor Experience Summary

  • ~5 km hike over steep and gentle terrain
  • Interspersed with educational activities/games
  • Led by experienced interpretive guide
  • Curriculum-linked
  • Possible topics covered:
    • Recreation in nature
    • Parks and wilderness
    • Watersheds
    • Species at risk
    • History of the area
    • Human impacts
    • Stewardship


  • Not provided by CPAWS
  • Must be arranged by the facilitator
  • If you book a bus, the bus AND driver must stay onsite all day when outside of a city. The bus driver must remain with the bus.

Facilitator Responsibilities

  • Read this entire hiking package
  • Send in the facilitator checklist (p.6) 2-3 weeks prior to the trip
  • Complete the COVID-19 Organization checklist (p. 7) 2-3 weeks prior to the trip
  • Comply with all COVID-19 government regulations and CPAWS procedures
  • Arrange for all participants to sign CPAWS waivers
  • Coordinate group transportation
  • Confirm each group size is no more than 34 participants
    • Please note in your booking confirmation email, how many groups we have booked for you. Each group has its own guide.
    • The maximum group size per guide is 34 people in accordance to our permit with Alberta Parks
    • The recommended group size is 15-20 people
    • All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian

Weather Preparedness

Please make sure all participants dress appropriately for the day and bring extra gear as the weather can change quickly.  This includes:
  • Appropriate footwear
  • Rain jacket
  • An extra sweater
  • Hat and mitts

Where to Meet

Please refer to the location selected as an Add-On in your booking confirmation e-mail. You have either selected a Community Walk (your chosen location near you) or one of our hiking locations. Please refer to the appropriate map:

2. Sample Itinerary



10:00 AM

CPAWS staff greets school groups in the parking lot and discusses plan for the day.

Possible Activities: camouflage, plant identification, animal evidence exploration

11:00 AM

Hiking & Interpretation

Possible Activities: history of the area, outdoor safety, parks and wilderness in Canada, pond dipping, ecosystem interactions, build-a-park

12:00 PM

Lunch at viewpoint (weather permitting)

12:30 PM

Hiking & Interpretation

Possible Activities: deer’s ears, shelter shuffle, animal game, grizzly bear survival, biodiversity count, etc.

2:00 PM

Goodbye: review & evaluations

* Please Note:

The hiking schedule varies from trip to trip depending on participant ages, group size, weather, arrival/departure times, etc.

We suggest arriving at 10:00 am and departing at 2:00 pm to maximize your time in the park. However, this is only a suggested timeframe and we will accommodate the time available to your group. 

3. Contacts and Cancellation

We require a contact cell phone number for each teacher in charge for the day of the program. Please ensure you provide us with this information on the facilitator's checklist provided at the end of this page. 

Important Numbers

Interpretive Guides:
Lisa Shields (403)703-6422
Vanessa Bilan (587) 968-3953
Sheri Tarrington (403)921-2314
Sabrina Ryans (403) 707-8053

Education Director:
Jaclyn Angotti (403)232-6686 (office)


If you are delayed 20+ minutes the day of your hike call your Interpretive Guide.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

As our programs are in high demand, it is our expectation that teachers who book programs will make every effort to maintain their bookings. If extenuating circumstances warrant cancellation of a program (like extreme weather, road closures, family emergency, etc.) we will reschedule programs rather than cancel. We encourage all teachers to inform us of any circumstances that may prevent the delivery of a program with as much notice as possible. Our cancellation policy is as follows:

  • 1 month prior to booking: 100% refund
  • 29 to 14 days prior to booking: 50% refund
  • Less than 2 weeks prior to booking: no refund

4. Risks & Hazards

Inclement Weather

  • Participants must be prepared for all weather conditions.
  • Appropriate footwear, raingear, sunscreen, and hats and mitts are recommended.
  • Remind participants to dress appropriately for the day.
  • We have the right to hold participants back if they are ill-prepared for hiking.
  • In the event of weather conditions that affect participant safety, the trip will be stopped.

Bears & Other Wildlife

  • It is NOT the intention of CPAWS to encounter any bears or have any negative encounters with any animals.
  • We will give lessons on how to avoid such encounters.
  • It is imperative that the group stays together and that the teacher stays at the back of the group.
  • CPAWS guides will carry bear spray.

Uneven terrain, slips & trips, and falls:

  • All participants must have appropriate footwear.
  • CPAWS guides will do their best to identify and manage hazards that posses a slips, trips and/or falls hazard.


  • Parents/guardians are responsible for managing their children’s behaviour.
  • Participants who are exhibiting behaviour that puts others at risk will not be tolerated.
  • CPAWS reserves the right to stop the program if participant behaviour is jeopardizing the group or natural area.


  • There are outhouses at the trailhead.
  • There are no facilities while hiking.
  • Parents/guardians are responsible if their children need to use the washroom during the duration of the program.


  • In the spring, there is the possibility of insect bites.
  • Insect spray (DEET based) or lotion is recommended.
  • A tick check is recommended at the end of the hiking day

5. Emergency Response Plan

CPAWS interpretive guides are certified in Wilderness First Aid and carry bear spray, first aid kit and SPOT Satellite messenger device. We will respond to emergencies using the CPAWS emergency response procedures. Organizations are expected to follow their own procedures in terms of communication, accident reporting, insurance.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

How can we ensure the best experience for our participants?

  • Prepare students for the outdoor experience so that they feel comfortable.
  • Be physically prepared: clothing, food, water, etc.
  • Be mentally prepared: read some FAQ below.

Are there any bears where we’re going?

  • Black bears are very rarely seen in Fish Creek Provincial Park. 
  • We have both black bears and grizzly bears in our Rocky Mountains.
  • Bear safety is paramount.
  • Wild bears typically fears humans.
  • Participants will learn how to safely recreate in bear country during the program.

What should we do to ensure no-one gets lost?

  • CPAWS staff will lead the group.
  • An adult will be placed at the end of the line to act as a “sweeper”
  • Throughout the day we will do participant counts.

Are we likely to get ticks on us?

  • Rocky Mountain (wood) ticks are active in the spring when the snow melts until late June.
  • With education and a tick check, risks are reduced.
  • Wood ticks are blood eating insects, ~5-6mm with flat, red bodies.
  • They commonly attach at the neck but may attach anywhere.
  • Best practices: tuck pants inside socks, DEET repellent and conduct a tick check.
  • Typically, it takes an embedded tick 24 hours to transmit a disease or parasite. Check for and remove embedded ticks in a timely manner to mitigate the risk.
  • If a tick has attached itself to your skin, the whole body, including the mouth parts, must be removed. Grasp it firmly near the head with tweezers or fingers and pull steadily so that the mouth parts do not break off in your skin. Save the tick and give it to Alberta Health Services so that they can check if the tick carried any disease or parasites.

What if my hiking location is closed or inaccessible?

CPAWS will work with you to accommodate your group at a different location. For instance, instead of Fish Creek Provincial Park you may go to Nose Hill Park and visa versa. 

7. Planning Checklists

I have...

  • list of all participants’ emergency contacts to bring on the trip
  • garbage bags (work as coats) and plastic bags (work as rain boots)
  • a roll of toilet paper
  • arranged name tags for all participants
  • no more than 34 participants in each group (15-20 max recommended)
  • read the required material on this page


  • have signed the CPAWS Southern Alberta waivers provided. All participants must have signed waivers, including facilitators.
  • have been told that we will be in a park setting where there are no washroom facilities (if applicable)
  • have been asked to bring all of the following (guides will refuse service to participants without proper clothing):
  • garbage-free lunch
  • jacket & extra sweater
  • sunscreen
  • hat & mitts
  • sturdy/flat/close-toed footwear
  • drink (min. 1.0 L in reusable container)


    • I have arranged transportation. I know where and when we will meet in the area
    • If booking a bus: The bus company knows that the bus and driver must stay on site outside of a city (no exceptions)

    8. Important Documents


    Facilitator Checklist 

    Adult Waiver

    Minor Waiver

    We now have waivers available to sign digitally! Please contact us at to discuss if paper or electronic waivers are the best solution for your group.

    IMPORTANT: Ask everyone to use the email that was used to book the program when they sign the waiver (the teacher/facilitator email). This will automatically link the signed waiver to your booking and sends you the signed waiver to keep track of who has/hasn’t signed. If they use other email addresses, we will need a participant list to match the waivers to your booking in the back-end. If you would like to use digital waivers, please forward this link to all participants, staff, and volunteers, and ensure everyone has a waiver signed prior to the outdoor experience: