Governments of Canada and Alberta, Enbridge Inc. and Nature Conservancy of Canada partner with landowners to conserve valuable habitat and the historic Alberta Ranch in the Castle Crown Natural Area
PINCHER CREEK, AB, May 24, 2012 /CNW/ - The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), Alberta Region, today celebrates the protection, through conservation easement, of the 1,324-acre (536-hectare) Alberta Ranch in the Castle Crown Natural Area.
As rich as the ecological significance of the ranch is, there is also an important historic significance to the property. Alberta Ranch was named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria, who was married to the Governor General of Canada, Sir John Douglas Sutherland Campbell, Marquess of Lorne. In 1882, the original 20,000-acre (8,090-hectare) Alberta Ranch was established by the Marquess of Lorne, and a business conglomerate - which included Colonel Sir Francis De Winton, the Honorable J. Boyle, H.J. Hansen, E.A. Willmor and Richard Duthie - to provide supplies to the Crowsnest Pass for its booming coal mining industry.
The Alberta Ranch property represents an ecologically significant area that is home to important plant and animal species at risk and is some of the highest-value habitat for grizzly bear, black bear, cougar, golden eagle and bald eagle. The diverse property includes a wide variety of habitat types. The transitional nature of the Foothills region, where grasslands meet the Rocky Mountains, results in a mosaic of vegetation communities, microclimates and ecological riches.
Straddling two different sub-regions, it consists of riparian areas and wetlands, native grassland and mature forests. It is important for overwintering elk and deer, provides habitat for wide-ranging carnivores, and will protect a large, unfragmented tract of deeded land.
NCC celebrates landowners Cheryl and Steve Maunsell who have donated a portion of the conservation easement, worth $1,000,000.
In 2011, the Government of Alberta created the Alberta Land Trust Grant program - a program designed to support land trusts such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada to assist in the purchase or partial purchase of conservation easements on ecologically significant landscapes such as Alberta Ranch.
This project was also completed with funding from the Government of Canada-Nature Conservancy of Canada Natural Areas Conservation Program - 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. As of December 2011, the Natural Areas Conservation Program has protected 809,906 acres (327,758 hectares) of habitat, which includes habitat for 117 species at risk.
With $2.5 million contributed over the course of three years, Enbridge Inc. is also a major donor to this project and others across Canada. Through Enbridge's investment, NCC will promote and implement management methods for the long-term maintenance and health of Canada's important landscapes.
In addition, the securement of this property wouldn't have been possible without the significant support of the generous donations of individuals such as George Castles and R. Barker.
"Conserving Alberta 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. Not only is this property ecologically significant, its historical value is important to both the province and its people," said Bob Demulder, Vice-President, Alberta Region, Nature Conservancy of Canada.
-Bob Demulder, Regional Vice-President NCC Alberta
"It's comforting to know that the historical ranch, the Alberta Ranch, will be preserved. The natural beauty and the ecosystem the place offers is a treasure that would be lost to future generations," says property owner Steve Maunsell.
-Steve Maunsell, property owner
"These acquisitions mark another achievement under our government's Natural Areas Conservation Program," said Minister Kent. "With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our country's ecosystems, history, and sensitive species for present and future generations."
-Environment Canada Minister, Peter Kent
"Alberta Ranch provides an outstanding example of how landowners, conservation organizations and governments can work together to conserve areas of great ecological importance to our province," said Minister Diana McQueen, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. "I congratulate Cheryl and Steve Maunsell and the Nature Conservancy of Canada for their contribution to protecting Alberta's natural heritage."
-Diana McQueen, Minister, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
"Over the past three years, Enbridge has proudly supported the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and contributed to NCC's successful efforts to conserve more than 5,000 acres of ecologically significant landscapes across Canada," said Paul D. Hunt, Director, Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility of Enbridge Inc. "As an Alberta-based company that shares NCC's objective of protecting our most important natural areas, we find the conservation of Alberta Ranch particularly significant. We're pleased to play a role alongside NCC, landowners and governments in preserving this important part of our natural history."
-Paul Hunt, Director, Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility of Enbridge Inc.
- The Alberta Ranch property straddles two different sub-regions, it consists of riparian areas and wetlands, native grassland and mature forests. It is important for overwintering elk and deer, provides habitat for wide-ranging carnivores, and will protect a large, unfragmented tract of deeded land.
- The Alberta Ranch property represents an ecologically significant area that is home to important plant and animal species at risk including grizzly bear, black bear, cougar, golden eagle and bald eagle.
- Alberta Ranch was named after Princess Louise. The Alberta Ranch Company was established as a ranch in 1882 when five prominent men formed a conglomerate to provide supplies to the Crowsnest Pass for its booming coal mining industry.
- Donations to the Nature Conservancy of Canada deliver results you can walk on: 85 percent of donations go directly to protecting natural landscapes in Canada.
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 2.6 million acres (1 million hectares), coast to coast. To learn more visit: www.natureconservancy.ca
For further information:
Director, Development & Communications - Alberta Region
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