Most people work for NCCbecause of their passion forNature and the love of theoutdoors. Its important from timeto time to connect with the workwe do on the ground to remind usof our achievements but also thechallenges that are still to come.Its also a way to recharge thebatteries and get re-invigoratedin the important conservationwork NCC does.
Highlights of the Week: A crew of NCC’ers (Kelly Eaton, Brendan Such, Kara Tersen, Larry Simpson and Marie Tremblay and I) got together and toured the newly acquired Lusicich property in the Crowsnest pass. The ladies did a flowering plant inventory and found over 50 species, which is a story in itself.
The 263 acre Lusicich Property (outlined in green) is located in the CrowsnestPass Natural Area. As you can see it borders the north side of the CrowsnestLake as well as just east of a 160 acre property NCC acquired from the RockyMountain Elk Foundation. Crowsnest Lake
Crowsnest MountainA scenic picture of the property from across the lake - The ridge on the leftdepicts the west boundary and the east boundary is not quite in the picture.Not part of the property, but a great reference point is the CrowsnestMountain seen in the distance.
NCC’s involvement in the Crowsnest Pass Natural area is primarily motivatedby the objective of maintaining and enhancing wildlife linkage zones andcorridors across and along the Crowsnest pass valley in SW Alberta. Inaddition the variation of climate and elevation gradient located along thiseast west valley creates habitat that supports a high diversity of species.
The Lusicich project has significant habitat value, including douglas firforests, montane grassland, north-south, east- west wildlife movementcorridors and consequently has significant connectivity for species includinggrizzly bear, elk and wolf. A previous visit to the property with Ian Barnettrevealed at least one wolf kill of an Elk and possibly a second.
Just west of Lusicich and on the edge ofthe other property NCC owns, the groupexplored a large Karsk that emergesfrom the cliff and caves to flow intoCrowsnest Lake.
Then Larry and I toured the Cervo property, andthe 3 miles of the Crowsnest river that we haveconserved with our partners in the east block ofthe Crowsnest Natural Area. We stumbled upon ayoung cinnamon bear – or should I say Bailey mytrusted Beagle did. No harm no foul though! That night we stayed at the Casa Eaton in Fernie BC and, with the fortitude provided by red wine, we traded stories with Dave Eaton a renowned outdoors enthusiast himself. Its amazing what can get accomplished in these discussions – but never fully remembered the next day.
The next morning...Larry and I attempted to summit the 8,000 ft Mt. Broadwood-NCC’s22,000 acre property in the Elk Valley, but a 250 meter cirque interrupted our goal. Wesaw a number of wonderful trophy rams at the summit as well as a number of femalesand young.
Next was the Flathead valley to see what 390,000 acres of conserved SE BC forestlandslooks like. We camped overnight on the NCC property near the wardens cabin. We wereable to spot a few more bears (yearlings) and probably the largest wolf I have seen in mylife. He looked like the size of a small deer. The picture is of the wardens cabin
We returned to Waterton via thelogging roads of the Flathead and gotlost – let alone almost destroying mytruck by the ruggedness of the road –or lack thereof. Alberta Ranch was the next stop, where Larry and I tried our luck at fly-fishing in Pincher Creek that runs through it. We had lots of action including a 20” rainbow for me. Larry was re-learning the art of Fly- fishing, but he caught his fair share and learned a bit more about the sport that I suspect will become more frequently used on high end donor trips.
Pincher creek valley on the Alberta Ranch property
We stayed on Waterton property near the Watertonriver. We invited Nancy Newhouse from NCC-BC overto stay , as we knew she was spending time in thearea with her daughter.We witnessed at last 40 cow elk and young emergefrom the thicket on the Palmer ridge to graze in theevening. As well as a Snipe performing their unique“woo –woo- woo” sound that they make with theirwings.
The last day we tried a little more fishing on the Waterton River, but thewater was very high. Additional attempts were made to fish on the Brooksproperty that abuts the Belly River, as it flows out of Waterton Lakes NationalPark, but the local Rancher, Gordy West noted that a Grizzly was active in thearea – so we took a pass and headed home via the cowboy trail.Final Thoughts: Once every 50yrs for a “Time for Nature” is not enough!.Nothing could be better than a week in the field to re-connect with the workwe do, the people we work with and the added bonus that no e-mails arepiling up back at the office!