Happy Canada Day

The Nature Conservancy of Canada celebrates by protecting Chinook Ranch, a natural treasure near Longview, Alberta

LONGVIEW, AB, June 24, 2011 /CNW/ - Every day, Canadians are stepping forward to help protect the natural areas that define our country. We call them our force for nature. In celebration of the many gifts from Canadians who care about our natural heritage, and in time for Canada Day, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) announces the protection of 2,610-acres (1,056 hectares) of Chinook Ranch in the Bow Natural Area of Alberta.

Chinook Ranch is near Longview and is nearly 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares) in size. Much of the property is conserved under conservation easement with NCC and was completed in December 2010. This spectacular property features outstanding views of the Rocky Mountains. The Chinook Ranch conservation easement protects one of the largest blocks of deeded land west of Highway 22 between Longview and the Oldman River and is adjacent to 40,000 acres of public lands that in turn border Kananaskis Country.

The Chinook Ranch, owned and managed by the Hughes family, has been carefully managed for the benefit of nature. The family decided to place a conservation easement on the ranch to ensure future protection and conservation of the area, combined, the Hughes family has donated $2.69 million in both easement value and financial support towards this project. Their commitment to conservation extends to how they carefully steward their lands: the property has been managed for the benefit of native vegetation and to maintain wildlife habitat. The property is primarily grazed in the dormant season. These strategies help protect the ecological integrity and sustainability of the native plant communities.

And these native plant communities are vital components of the web of life: moose, white-tailed deer, mule deer, cougar, black and Grizzly bears are regularly seen on the property, along with a wide variety of birds, squirrels and other wildlife.

Partnership is at the heart of NCC's work. Many forces for nature have come together to help secure this property including the easement donation by the Hughes family and other generous financial supporters such as Ross Mackenzie, Neil & Kay Silver and the Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program.

This project was also made possible with support from the Government of Canada. The Government of Canada's Natural Area Conservation Program is a unique public-private partnership that helps non-government organizations secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the protection of our country's diverse ecosystems, wildlife and habitat.

You can join with NCC and became a force for nature this Canada Day.

  • Stand up and be counted. Add your name to the growing list of Canadians who believe protecting native habitat and wildlife is critically important to our future.
  • Join NCC's Conservation Volunteers program. You can join friends, family and NCC experts at events throughout the year and help care for some of Canada's most important natural areas.
  • Make a gift to NCC. You can celebrate a loved one, friend, teacher, or perhaps a favourite Canadian species, or a beloved landscape by making a donation today.

Quotes

"Conserving Chinook Ranch is another step to ensure that some of the best native habitat in the area is conserved for the benefit of biodiversity and future generations. The Nature Conservancy of Canada is proud to work with Ranchers such as the Hughes family, they are true guardians of nature," said Bob Demulder, Vice-President, Alberta Region, Nature Conservancy of Canada.

"Ensuring that this land remains in its current natural state is something that matters to us. This was more than just a business decision; conserving this place is aligned with the special connection each of us has to this land," said Stephen Hughes.

"This acquisition marks another achievement under our government's Natural Areas Conservation Program. With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations," said Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of Environment. "Your actions today will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that will constitute an integral part of our natural heritage tomorrow."

Facts

  • This Canada Day, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has protected over 7,870 acres (3,185 hectares) of natural heritage for all Canadians to enjoy. This is greater than the  combined size of St. Lawrence Islands National Park and Georgian Bay Islands National Park.
  • For a complete list of NCC's 10 Canada Day announcements and the forces of nature behind them visit, www.natureconservancy.ca/gifts2011
  • Chinook Ranch is located in the Bow Natural Area - a region that represents the rapid ecological transition from the Parkland Natural Region to the Rocky Mountain Natural Region.
  • The Bow Natural Area still maintains a resident population of Grizzly Bears, a species at risk in the Province of Alberta.
  • Ranching and other agricultural enterprises are the historic land uses, though oil and gas activity has become more prevalent. Recreational activities such as hiking, hunting, ATV use, camping and mountain biking are popular as well.
  • Donations to the Nature Conservancy of Canada deliver results you can walk on - 85 per cent of donations go directly to protecting fragile landscapes in Canada.
  • Almost 1,200 volunteers contributed approximately 7,300 hours of volunteer work through the Conservation Volunteers program last year

Learn More

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The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2 million acres (800,000 hectares), coast to coast. To learn more visit: www.natureconservancy.ca

Stunning photography available. Interviews with volunteers, donors, NCC staff, experts and scientists available. Check out our online newsroom for more updates at www.natureconservancy.ca/media.

SOURCE Nature Conservancy of Canada

For further information:

Kara Tersen
Director, Development & Communications - Alberta Region
kara.tersen@natureconservancy.ca
403.613.0262

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