(Cranbrook, BC) The Nature Trust of British Columbia is delighted to announce the completion of the purchase of the last privately owned property on Wigwam Flats and wishes to extend appreciation to the Tregilges family.
The Tregilges family has had a connection to this land near Elko in the East Kootenay for many years. Phoebe Tolley Tregilges was born at Cokato, BC, in 1921. Phoebe, her sister Mildred and her brother Tom purchased the Wigwam Flats property when they were teenagers. Eventually Phoebe bought out her sister’s portion of the land (her brother Tom had died). The land was later passed to her children and eventually to her son John Tregilges.
“Keeping the land in its natural state forever honours my mother’s love for this property,” said John. “It has been an especially gratifying experience to work with The Nature Trust since 2007 to make this possible.”
Rob Neil, Kootenay Conservation Land Manager for The Nature Trust explains, “This 2 hectare (5 acre) property will be added to existing conservation lands owned by The Nature Trust and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations. It will contribute to the natural mosaic of grassland, open forest and closed canopy forest habitats on the adjacent conservation holdings and surrounding Crown land. This complex of habitat types provides class one winter habitat for elk and mule deer and is particularly important spring lambing and breeding habitat for approximately 250 blue-listed Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Besides the variable habitat that makes the Wigwam Flats such an important area for wildlife, the natural topography provides excellent escape terrain for bighorn sheep when threatened by natural predators such as cougar and wolves.”
In addition to providing high quality and essential habitat for wild ungulates the newly acquired property provides all the attributes required to support other species such as the red-listed American Badger.
A key and essential partner of this acquisition was the Columbia Basin Trust. The Nature Trust gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Columbia Basin Trust which supports efforts to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the residents of the Columbia Basin.
“The Nature Trust does great work in the Columbia Basin and across BC. The most gratifying thing about our partnership in this project is the resulting benefit for a range of wildlife species and for a local family whose wishes are to see this property remain in a natural state,” said Neil Muth, President and Chief Executive Officer of Columbia Basin Trust.
Other funding partners include the East Kootenay Wildlife Association, Elkford Rod and Gun Club, Fernie and District Rod and Gun Club, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program – Columbia, Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund, Southern Guides and Outfitters, Sparwood & District Fish & Wildlife Association, Wildsight Society, and Irene and Agathe Teske. Additional support for the project was provided by the Kootenay Conservation Program.
“The Tregilges property was the missing link in the Mt. Broadwood/Wigwam Flats conservation area, and the acquisition of this property has ensured the future viability of this key winter range,” said Sam Medcalf, Director of the Sparwood & District Fish & Wildlife Association. “The Association would like to thank all the individuals and companies that have provided donations to our club, which allows us to contribute to such great projects.”
“The Elkford Rod and Gun Club is pleased to support The Nature Trust in this important Tregilges property acquisition,” said Bill Hanlon, Director of the club. “We would personally like to thank Rob Neil, Kootenay Conservation Land Manager, who, with vision and boots on the ground, created partnerships with various conservation and environmental groups and individuals to secure the funding necessary for this purchase.”
As a leading non-profit land conservation organization, The Nature Trust of British Columbia is dedicated to protecting BC’s natural diversity of plants and animals through the acquisition and management of critical habitats. Since 1971 The Nature Trust along with our partners has invested more than $80 million to secure over 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) across British Columbia.