Working landscape at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt,
Working landscape at Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt,

Conserving the Waldron

Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt,

Waldron, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt,

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, the Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC's) Alberta Region has narrowed the fundraising gap required to conserve a spectacular and iconic ranch.

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.

These native grasslands cover a 30,535-acre (12,357-hectare) area that stretches between the Rockies and Porcupine Hills. (Click to enlarge)


A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

An option to acquire a conservation agreement on the 30,535-acre (12,357-hectare) Waldron lands has recently been negotiated between NCC and the Waldron Grazing Co-operative Ltd.

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. For the first time since the late 1800s we have an opportunity to conserve it for all time, protecting the headwaters of critical streams and rivers for the entire Canadian Prairies, which provide water for millions of Canadians and countless wildlife species.

Steve Herrero and baby bear (Photo courtesy of Steve Herrero)

"The well-being of my children — the well-being of all of us — depends on nature's effective functioning. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the inspiration we derive from life, all flows from nature in one way or another." ~ Steve Herrero, NCC supporter

On September 11, 2013 NCC's Alberta Region publicly announced the historic agreement and the urgency to raise the remaining $3 million to meet our fundraising goals. Thank you to all the individuals who have generously donated to the Waldron and East Slopes Campaign as we are now in the final home stretch.

Project update

As of March 1, 2014 we now need to raise $1 million to conserve this remarkable property in perpetuity. Read on to learn more about the project and how to donate to the project as we all can make a difference.

Completing this project would make it the largest conservation easement in Canadian history and ensure this valuable iconic landscape will remain protected for all time.

Additional monies raised will continue to be put towards the east slopes, as the race to conserve The Last Five Miles continues.

Story continues below the video and slideshow, with information on the species and conservation values of the property.

A short video that captures the essence of the Waldron area:



Waldron in photos:

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


Help conserve this majestic landscape

Help conserve the Waldron today by donating to the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Alberta Region.

Conserve Waldron (Photo by Kyle Marquardt,

For more information please contact us directly. Details are below. 

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:

Gerald Kooper-Key (Photo by NCC)

"We cannot improve the beauty of nature but we can conserve and protect it. And that is a legacy to be proud of." ~ Gerald Cooper-Key, Waldron project supporter through the Gerald A. Cooper-Key Foundation

  • water filtration
  • carbon sequestration
  • soil protection
  • 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.


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 primarly 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 bear
  • black bear
  • moose
  • white-tailed deer
  • elk
  • mule deer
  • bald eagle
  • wild turkey

Species at risk observed on the property include:

  • golden eagle
  • ferruginous hawk
  • limber pine

For more information please contact:

Larry Simpson
Associate Regional Vice-President

media requests to:

Jenel Bode
Manager of Communications


  • Web Admin March 28, 2014 - 2:24
    Thank you very much for taking the time to comment on our project. As a non-profit organization, most of our work takes place on private land. Much of the area covering the watersheds from Cochrane to Jasper is crown land, and we are unable to work there. This area is still very important, all habitat especially habitat that protects our critical headwaters is highly important. There are a couple of groups active in public land policy such as the Alberta Wilderness Association or Friends of the Eastern Slopes. We are focused on securing and stewarding private land in Alberta. Our work takes place within highly sensitive natural areas in the province. One of our larger projects is the Waldron. By securing this property, we will be able to protect the landscape from further development, and look after very important watersheds within this area.

  • Oldtimer March 21, 2014 - 11:52
    There appears to be no work being down on the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies to protect the watersheds north of Cochrane to Jasper. The gov't has given the logging companies another $20 million contract for clearcutting. Why is this area being neglected?

  • WALDO March 07, 2014 - 6:16
    another folly by the old man

  • Web Admin December 27, 2013 - 12:43
    Hi there, Thank you for your good question. Decisions concerning public access to the Waldron property are still in the hands of the Waldron Grazing Cooperative. Certain uses that would damage the nature values of the property however will be limited by the conservation easement. Muscle powered uses like the ones Glen mentioned are not limited in any way but permission to use the property must be directed to the property owner, in this case the Waldron. Where NCC owns property managed public access is generally permitted. Access to properties where NCC has a conservation easement are managed by the property owner. We similarly agree that there is a positive feedback loop between people interacting with the outdoors and learning to care about conservation that is why we generally provide access to NCC owned properties.

  • Randall December 24, 2013 - 10:14
    How can I help, specifically for the Waldron project?

  • Anonymous December 20, 2013 - 12:29
    Will there be opportunities for non-destructive outdoor recreation on the waldron land--e.g., hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, riding. (preferably without supplicating to the ranch management). It's important to conserve land, and it is also important to encourage people to get out and appreciate the outdoors--there is a feedback loop here.

  • ProudRascal December 04, 2013 - 10:10
    Trying to find this area on google maps makes me wish NCC had an interactive map showing its protected areas, and current projects. That would be nifty. Or at least coordinates so I can get an idea where it is.

  • Ole November 08, 2013 - 12:34
    This is a great endeavour and one of significant importance to conserving ranching and wilderness areas

  • Stan October 22, 2013 - 1:39
    A most worthy project.!

  • Wonder October 04, 2013 - 5:38
    I think this is a great project, but I wonder about predator and pest management policies on Nature Conservancy land. I hope that this conservation efforts aims to protect the whole ecosystem (coyotes, wolves, gophers, etc.) while managing livestock on the grazing reserve. Will there be any changes or prohibitions in land management policies as a result of the Nature Conservancy agreement?

  • PBoo September 25, 2013 - 7:07
    Hi - Is there a link to donate on line directly to the Waldron project ? Thanks. s

  • Manager of Communication September 23, 2013 - 4:19
    Hello, Thanks for taking the time to comment as it is very much an accomplishment that we are in a position to conserve this magnificent and highly ecological landscape, however, we still have $3 million left to raise before the Waldron is conserved for all time. Every little bit helps in making this a reality for not only Albertans but for all Canadians as well. Your support is welcomed!

  • Anonymous September 12, 2013 - 2:21
    Bravo on the Waldron...a much needed addition

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