Talking Mountain Ranch: the setting
Talking Mountain Ranch, also known as Reynold’s Ranch was purchased by the Land Conservancy in 1999. This is one of TLC’s properties that falls into what we refer to as a ‘working landscape’. From the initial purchase in 1999, this property is working cattle ranch. It incorporates approximately 380 ha of deeded land, and a 17,000 ha grazing license on Crown Land. The deeded lands and associated buildings on the ranch are owned by TLC but the ranch is leased to Jack Regan and Gaye Sidwell. Jack and Gaye make day to day decisions regarding the management of the ranch guided by a Whole Farm Plan that was written in 2006. TLC helps in the operation of the ranch by contributing financially to the infrastructure of the ranch. Most recently we completed a significant upgrade to the irrigation system of the ranch that has increased the efficiency of the delivery of much needed water to the ranch’s hayfields while at the same time contributing significantly to overall water conservation.
Location, location, location
This property and the associated grazing license are located in what has to be one of the most beautiful parts of BC. Just getting to the ranch from Clinton is an eye-popping and white-knuckling experience.
Dropping down 600 m in elevation from Clinton on a windy and narrow road to the reaction ferry at Big Bar on the Fraser River takes one to a place that is reminiscent of the Grand Canyon in the southern US. At this point the Fraser River carves its way through the land creating a spectacular canyon surrounded by vast expanses of BC’s grasslands.In fact about half of the 380 ha of deeded land are low elevation grasslands that are situated on the benches above the Fraser River. These lower elevation grasslands and adjacent Douglas fir stands in the vicinity of the deeded lands represent some of the highest capability habitat for mule deer and bighorn sheep in the Southern Interior. This area also supports healthy populations of cougar, blue grouse, flammulated owls and chukar. Seeing Lewis’ woodpeckers forage from cottonwoods along the edges of the Fraser is a common occurrence during the spring and summer.
Working to maintain ranching and grassland values
This acquisition has ensured that this working cattle ranch remained a working ranch. In many ways this acquisition was well ahead of its time given the recent trend of numerous ranches throughout BC being sold for development purposes. We are working with our tenant rancher to help ensure that the grasslands in the area remain healthy and vibrant. TLC opens the ranch to the public for education and research opportunities. Though our efforts, TLC hopes that the management of this property will demonstrate that ranching and conservation are not the mutually exclusive activities that many perceive them to be.