By: Al Peatt
SILT has purchased 109 hectares (270 acres) of open, rolling hills of bunchgrass interspersed with patches of trembling aspen-rose thickets located just east of Grand Forks. The property, known locally as DL 492, is year-round habitat for a herd of 200-300 California bighorn sheep. Rams and ewes of all ages use the land. It is also excellent winter and spring range for mule deer and white-tailed deer. Several species-at-risk occur, including rattlesnake, gophersnake, spadefoot toad, tiger salamander and badger.
This low-elevation grassland is significant for more reasons than its great diversity of wildlife. DL 492 lies within an ecosystem that extends only a short way into British Columbia from Washington State, forming a narrow band from Anarchist Summit east along the Kettle River to the Grand Forks basin.
Buying DL 492 for conservation was made possible by the family of the late Walter Mehmal; the BC Conservation Foundation Land for Wildlife Fund; the Brandow Family; the Wild Sheep Society of BC and its members; the Grand Forks Wildlife Association; and other donors and SILT supporters. If you believe the most rewarding investment for the future of wildlife is habitat acquisition and care, please donate to support SILT’s conservation work.
DL 492 has had a decades-long history of cattle grazing and uncontrolled trespass for off-road ATV use. This has caused some hillslope erosion and soil disturbance. To manage DL 492 for wildlife, SILT will work with its conservation partners, government, and local off-road and other interested groups to promote awareness, exclude cattle, restrict ATV use, and enhance the habitat value of the property.
SILT encourages non-mechanized public use of its lands for wildlife-related recreation and nature appreciation. We believe this rewards and engages people that support and benefit from habitat conservation, provided such use is safe, legal and protects the integrity of the land. SILT will conserve DL 492 in perpetuity, for all living things including people, and will never stray from that responsibility.