Easement creates ‘massive block’ of protected land

Preserved area of White Moose and OH ranches 10 kilometres long and nearly as wide

It’s the fulfilment of a long-term dream for rancher Stan Carscallen.

“From the day our White Moose Ranch first acquired this breathtaking property in 1992, I knew that we needed to find a way to preserve it in its natural state,” said Carscallen.

“We share a three-mile boundary on our south side with the OH Ranch. Over the years, I frequently spoke with our friend, Doc Seaman, about realizing a mutual dream of working together to create a single, contiguous block of conserved land extending from the Highwood River to the Sheep River that could never be developed or subdivided.

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“This donation completes that dream, and my family and I are proud to be part of that accomplishment.”

The conservation agreement entered into by Carscallen (a well-known Calgary lawyer who grew up on a ranch near Priddis), wife Eva Friesen, and sons Brock and Gavin covers a 2,000-acre portion of the ranch, located just west of Turner Valley. When combined with the OH Ranch property it has created “a massive block of conservation lands that create a wildlife corridor approximately eight kilometres wide and 10 kilometres long, between the Highwood and Sheep rivers and adjacent to Kananaskis Country,” the Nature Conservancy of Canada said in a news release.

The conservation agreement allows the cattle operation to continue while preventing subdivision or development of the property. The provincial Land Stewardship Grant and federal Natural Areas Conservation Program supported the project with a portion of it donated to Nature Conservancy under the federal Ecological Gifts Program (which offers enhanced tax incentives for donations of ecologically significant land).

The land covered by the agreement has a mix of native fescue grasslands, montane forests and riparian areas that provide habitat for a large number of animal species.

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