In 2020, BCCF’s Land for Wildlife Fund made a substantial donation to the Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT) for purchase of District Lot 492 just east of Grand Forks, BC. DL 492 is 109 hectares (270 acres) of open, rolling grassland interspersed with patches of trembling aspen and rose. The property is a low-elevation grassland adjacent to provincially designated bighorn sheep winter range and lies between two other conservation properties that provide secure travel corridors to higher elevation habitats.
DL 492 is year-round habitat for a healthy population of 200-300 California bighorn sheep. The Grand Forks sheep herd (also called the Gilpin herd) has provided decades of hunting opportunity to resident and non-resident hunters, as well as excellent wildlife viewing experiences. All bighorn sheep age and sex classes are commonly seen on DL 492. The property is also good quality winter/spring range for both mule deer and white-tailed deer and is habitat for at least five federally listed species-at-risk.
SILT acquires its properties for the conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat in perpetuity. 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 the land 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 habitat on the property.
SILT encourages non-mechanized public use of its lands for wildlife-related recreation, including hunting and fishing, provided such use is safe, legal and protects the integrity of the land. Visit www.siltrust.ca for more information.