Editor, The Gazette:
On July 2 there was a field trip on Nature Trust property. The major objective of the field trip was to encourage Nature Trust to take ownership of their 475 acres and start the process of mitigating the significant damage caused by the cow which is contrary to the 99-year lease agreement signed with the Fish and Wildlife Branch in 1974, a year after the purchase.
The backbone of the agreement states “that the lessee at all times during the terms of the lease, maintain and preserve in good order and condition the grounds of the said premises and carefully protect and preserve the trees, bushes, shrubs, plants and flowers.”
Nature Trust employee Nick Burdock has agreed to support fencing on the northern boundary of their 301 acres in Morrissey Creek watershed and start fencing in the immediate future a small spring adjacent to the road in Overton Creek watershed in which they own 175 acres. Tactically the long process of redeeming the rationale for the land purchase has begun.
Why has it taken so long for the lease agreement to have any meaning? Are those responsible for this outrageous violation of public trust, range staff and the rancher going to accept their obvious failure and make a significant economic contribution to fund the fencing necessary to exclude cows?
The land has been used by the rancher’s cows for 36 years and no rent has been paid to Nature Trust. Range staff intentionally included Nature Trust property in the range use plan for the obvious reason that Nature Trust property was between private property owned by the rancher and crown land.
How is it possible that one of the finest grassland/wildlife initiatives in our province’s history, the 1,470 acre Boothman Ranch purchase in 1972 and the subsequent purchase of 475 acres by Nature Trust in 1973, have no connection to the wildlife management objectives that initiated both purchases?
Although it’s another story, there is no better way to describe the contempt of politicians, bureaucrats and ranchers who took apart one of our province’s most impressive grassland/wildlife projects than comparing their behavior to those who championed the land purchases!