Cows on the Waldron, Alberta (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

Cows on the Waldron, Alberta (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

The Waldron

Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)

Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)

Conservation region: Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Region
Natural priority area: Southern Foothills

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

The Waldron Conservation Project, composed primarily of native habitat, is an area of incredible diversity, rich history and spectacular scenery. Those that drive along the ribbon of pavement known as the Cowboy Trail know this landscape well.

Established in 1883 by Duncan McNab McEachran of Montreal, with financial backing predominantly from Sir John Walrond-Walrond, the Waldron Conservation Project (Waldron) is a property in Alberta’s southern foothills, situated in a broad valley between the Bob Creek Wildland Park (the Whaleback) to the west and the Porcupine Hills Forest Reserve to the east along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

An option to acquire a conservation agreement on the 30,535-acre (12,357-hectare) Waldron lands was negotiated between the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Waldron Grazing Co-operative Ltd on April 3, 2013. History was made this day, as this was the first opportunity since the late 1800s to conserve this landscape for all time, ensuring the protection of the headwaters consisting of critical streams and rivers for the entire Canadian Prairies, which provide water for millions of Canadians and countless wildlife species.

In 2015, the Waldron Grazing Cooperative purchased the adjacent property known as the King Ranch, which extends the property of the Waldron an additional 4,200 acres (1,700 hectares). In 2016, NCC and the cooperative placed an additional easement on this property as well, therefore assuring the entire block of deeded land will remain intact and conserved for all time.

Ecological significance

The Waldron is the largest remaining block of deeded (private) land along the eastern slopes of Alberta. The rough fescue grasslands that dominate the area provide essential services, including water filtration, carbon sequestration, soil protection, and forage for both domestic and wild animals.

The property is located in the headwaters of the South Saskatchewan drainage basin, with numerous creeks and rivers such as the Oldman River flowing through it. This area provides habitat for many fish and wildlife species, water for communities downstream as well as recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

Waldron, Southern Foothills, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

Waldron, Southern Foothills, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

Habitat

Straddling both the Montane Natural Subregion and Foothills Fescue Natural Subregion, the property is composed of a mix of extensive and diverse montane ridges, riparian areas and fescue grassland. Forests are primarily composed of Douglas-fir and lodgepole pine, with aspen woodland. Endangered limber pine is also found on the exposed ridges throughout the property.

The ranch provides important habitat for species such as:

  • elk
  • grizzly and black bear
  • moose
  • white-tailed deer
  • bald eagle
  • wild turkey

Species at risk observed on the property include:

  • golden eagle
  • ferruginous hawk
  • limber pine

Partners/supporters

Visionaries $500,000 +

  • Waldron Grazing CO-OP
  • Government of Alberta, Alberta Land Stewardship Grant Program
  • Government of Canada, Natural Areas Conservation Program
  • The Calgary Foundation

Founders $250,000 - $499,000

  • Werklund Foundation

Trailblazers $100,000 - $249,999

  • TransCanada Corporation
  • Dale Huntingford and Virginia Dobson
  • Gerald A. Cooper Key Foundation
  • Soderglen Ranch      
  • Ron and Jan Brenneman
  • Hal Kvisle
  • The Riddell Family

  • Cattle at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Cattle at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)
  • Ranchers at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Ranchers at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)
  • Working landscape at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Working landscape at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)
  • Working landscape at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Working landscape at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)
  • Wildflowers at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Wildflowers at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)
  • Working landscape at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Working landscape at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt, kylefoto.com)

 

 

Supporter Spotlight

Supporter Spotlight

Busenius, SK (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)