Nature Trust purchases last piece of Wigwam Flats
The Nature Trust of British Columbia has purchased the last remaining piece of privately owned property on Wigwam Flats near Elko.
“This two hectare (five acre) property will be added to existing conservation lands owned by The Nature Trust and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations," explained Rob Neil, Kootenay conservation land manager for The Nature Trust. "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 a particularly important spring lambing and breeding habitat for approximately 250 blue-listed Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep."
He added, "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.”
The property also provides all of the attributes required to support several other species, like the red-listed American Badger.
The Nature Trust extends their appreciation to the Tregilges family for selling the property they have owned for many years. Phoebe Tolley Tregilges was born in Cokato in 1921. Phoebe, her sister Mildred, and her brother Tom purchased the Wigwam Flats property when they were teenagers. Eventually, after Tom had passed away, Phoebe bought out her sister’s portion of the land. The property 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.”
The Columbia Basin Trust was a key partner in the sale, along with the East Kootenay Wildlife Association, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program - Columbia, Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund, Wildsight, Kootenay Conservation Program, Fernie and District Rod and Gun Club, Elkford Rod and Gun Club, and Sparwood and District Fish and Wildlife Association.
“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 and District Fish and 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.”
As a non-profit land conservation organization, The Nature Trust of British Columbia is dedicated to protecting B.C.’s natural diversity of plants and animals through the acquisition and management of critical habitats. Since 1971, The Nature Trust has invested more than $80 million to secure over 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) across the province.