Skip to content

Letter to the Editor: Renaming Highway 8 after cowboy Clem Gardner necessary

Hello Eagle readers; This is a follow-up to our first article in August 29, 2019.

Hello Eagle readers;

This is a follow-up to our first article in August 29, 2019. We are three volunteers welcoming community support for dedicating of the name "Clem Gardner Trail" on Highway 8, from the city boundary to its westerly terminus at Hwy 22 traffic circle - on \'The Cowboy Trail\'. This approximates the Calgary to Bragg Creek wagon track of old which Clem usually used.

Clem was uniquely honored by the Calgary Stampede organization in 1952 when Guy Weadick stated he was the single person who had contributed the most to the Stampede over its first 40 years. A one-time only award was given. A Scout camp was also named after him as was a Calgary School in 1965. The Elbow River bridge (1960?) on Highway 22 was also dedicated to Clem. Today the school is leased out, the Scout camp is closed (flood), and the plaque has vanished. Today we want to see that heritage/tribute restored. Accordingly it is fitting to name the 17 km of Highway 8 as Clem Gardner Trail. We had hoped this might occur in time for the 2020 Stampede … and possibly still could, if the Provincial Cabinet is inclined. We think this could be a special milestone for the 2020 Stampede despite its cancelation.
Aside from participating in rodeo and the chucks, Clem was an active rancher and family man who raised and trailed stock to the Calgary Stampede from his ranch on Pirmez Creek now served by Highway 8. He provided livestock for WW1 needs.

Highway 8 is under sole jurisdiction of the Province. Alberta Transportation advises a name will only be considered if there is broad public support. They do not normally name roads after distinguished persons, but as you may know many exceptions to this rule were made. Apparently the previous tributes of Scouts, Calgary Stampede, School Board, Highways, Professional Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame, Stockmen\'s Memorial Foundation, and numerous media are not quite sufficient. Therefore your letters of support to ourselves, the Minister of Transportation - Hon. Ric McIver, and your MLA and town council are invited.

Addresses will not change and signage should be installed as part of the larger Tsuut\'ina Trail construction project. To date we have 4 forthcoming letters of support from organizations and 80+ individual signatures, many from long time rancher families. While not a local road the support of Rocky View County will be requested and City of Calgary support is invited as well since the route is an access to/from the City.
This proposal is larger in the sense that other numbered but unnamed roads connecting with Highway 22 could one day also reflect heritage and enhance the Cowboy Trail theme.

About the proponents: Three retired gents pursuing the dedication of 17 km of Highway 8 as ‘Clem Gardner Trail’ have extensive backgrounds in Alberta ranching and history. They have formed a wholly ad-hoc committee to gain support on this initiative. Many folks may have recently encountered Doug Bateman in the Cochrane ranching/farming area. Doug knew Clem and thus is throwing his support to the project by doing legwork among Clem’s neighbours, family or friends. Over 80 supporters have responded so far. Meanwhile, Eric Gunderson and Don Hepburn are doing extensive networking with the numerous related agencies. If you want to add your name to the proposal catch up with Doug or please send comment to And best yet, let your MLA know.