Walks in the Watershed:

Every year, the GWAS organizes several walks and hikes in the Ghost Watershed led by volunteers. The Walks are not only educational, but they are also fun events showing you the beauty of the watershed and the challenges it is facing. The Ghost Watershed encompasses two protected areas: Don Getty Wildland Park and Ghost Wilderness. A large portion of the Watershed lies within the Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve. About half of the Ghost Public Land-use Zone (PLUZ) overlaps the Ghost Watershed. The protected areas as well as the Crown Lands within the Watershed provide for great walking and hiking opportunities. While there are no marked hiking trails in the Watershed at this time, you can take join us for our guided walks and hikes to enjoy this beautiful area of Alberta's Eastern Slopes.

Please check our News & Events page for frequent updates.


GWAS’s mission is to protect the integrity of the Ghost Watershed through:

     • identifying ecosystem and environmental issues,

     • raising public awareness,

     • providing advice to decision makers, and

     • taking action to resolve issues.

GWAS activities are based on four main pillars: Raising Awareness, Collaborating & Providing Advice, Restoring Ecological Function and Research & Data Collection. This includes:  

Walks in the Watershed

School field trips

Taking part in environmental fairs at local schools and the Calgary Mayor’s Environmental Expo


Developing educational outreach signage

• Presenting at various forums and conferences

• Taking part in government input processes

• Providing input based on research commissioned by GWAS and local knowledge of the watershed

Commissioning studies and data collection

Working with post-secundary institutions

School field trips and environmental fairs:

Attention teachers! Would you like to take your students out into the Ghost Watershed? We are here to help! There are many educational opportunities to be found in this watershed. GWAS may also be able to support transportation costs for school groups. Please contact us to discuss your ideas and needs.

With the help of our volunteers, we also attend environmental fairs at schools and the Calgary Mayor's Environmental Expo. We employ easy to use hands-on models to educate students about watersheds.

Please visit the pages below for more information on our educational activities and to download educational resources:

•  Report on educational activities in 2019

•  Teacher's guide and presentation on westslope cuthroat trout


Another important part of GWAS work is to develop a science-based understanding of this watershed. Understanding its composition, structure and function as well as its thresholds to maintaining ecological integrity. Over the past few years GWAS has engaged several highly respected Scientists and Professionals, such as Dr. Brad Stelfox and Forester & Ecologist Herb Hammond, helping us to achieve this goal. In 2018 we also completed the first Ghost River State of the Watershed report.

More information on the studies is available on our Research & Data page.

Under the Water for Life Strategy, WSGs are tasked to promote best management practices, collaborate with land-use managers, undertake on-the-ground actions to protect the watershed, develop State of the Watershed reports and collaboratively work towards the development of adaptive watershed management plans.


In 2011, GWAS initiated a partnership with the Elbow River Watershed Partnership (ERWP) to develop educational materials and an awareness campaign for recreational use in these sensitive watershed areas.

With funding support from the ERWP and a grant by Alberta Ecotrust, a graphic designer was hired to develop draft designs for educational signage. Two signs were developed: "Steer Clear" and "Thank you for using the bridge".

Find out more about the signage project.


Since 2016, GWAS has been involved in bio-engineering projects. GWAS has also offered 2-day bio-engineering workshops led by experienced bio-engineering spelialists such as Dave Polster (Polster Environmental Services) free of charge to anyone intersted in environmental restoration through natural processes.

To find out about the techniques and benefits of bio-engineering, please download our bio-engineering presentation (15MB).

To see photos of some of the bio-engineering projects in the Ghost Watershed, please visit our Media Gallery and watch for bio-engineering events on our News & Events page to gain hands-on experience.

Working with post-secondary institutions:

In 2019, we connected with the Environmental Science department of the University of Calgary and presented the Ghost River State of the Watershed (SOW) Report to the ENSC 502 class. Several student groups subsequently selected research topics based on the SOW Report. A number of GWAS members mentored and supported students in their research work.

Find out more about the ENSC 502 students' work here.