In July 2003 TLC received a donation of this 24 hectare site near Osoyoos. The gift, made under the Federal Eco-Gifts Program, will help to protect a significant stand of old-growth Western Larches, including what is believed to be the second largest Western Larch tree in British Columbia.
Up on the highland plateau east Osoyoos, highway #3 winds its way through the small villages of Bridesville and Rock Creek as it heads towards Grand Forks and Castlegar. This area, known as the Boundary Country, has a rich history of cattle ranching, gold mining, and forestry. On the eastern edge of the Boundary Country, approximately 20 minutes from Osoyoos, Dale Lehman and his wife Anita are the second generation of Lehman’s to ranch their land. Adjacent to what was Dale and Anita’s ranch house is a special stand of trees that Dale affectionately refers to as “the bush”. This forest is anything but a “bush”.
The forest, which is now known as the Lehman Springs Conservation Area, is ecologically unique in many ways. The large old growth Western Larches are over 600 years old, and the largest of these trees is 170 feel tall. These Larches provide nesting habitat for the provincially blue-listed (vulnerable) Williamson’s Sapsucker. The stand also includes ponderosa pines, spruce, and interior Douglas fir trees, along with a high density of large and small snags.
This forest is home to a variety of other wildlife including Red Tail Hawks, Pileated Woodpeckers, Flickers, owls, and deer (to name a few). There have also been unconfirmed sightings of the nationally endangered White-headed Woodpecker. Another unique feature of this forest is the abundance of natural springs. There are at least nine natural springs within this forest were water can be seen bubbling from the ground. These springs are home to a tiny fresh water shrimp, and in the summer, are the headwaters for Nine Mile Creek (which flows into Osoyoos Lake on the US side of the border).
Because of the fragile nature of this forest, access by the general public will not be permitted.