Ethier Sandhills, MB (Photo by NCC)

Ethier Sandhills, MB (Photo by NCC)

Nature Conservancy of Canada announces purchase of key, historical sand hills in Manitoba

February 4, 2016
Winnipeg, MB


The Nature Conservancy of Canada in Manitoba has announced that it is the proud new owners of a historical property in the province.

The not-for-profit, land conservation organization has completed the purchase of 127 hectares (315 acres), known as the Ethier Sandhills in the Oak Lake Natural Area in Southwestern Manitoba. 

The site was sold to the Nature Conservancy of Canada by the previous landowner who wished to protect the sand dunes in honour of his late mother.

Over the years, vegetation growing on the dunes have created stability and resulted in habitat for many rare or uncommon species. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has discovered 11 species at risk and uncommon species on the property, including silky prairie clover inhabiting the blowouts which is listed as both nationally and provincially threatened.

The property is also one of only a few places in Manitoba where brittle prickly-pear and the provincially imperilled spinystar can be found. The Either Sandhills are also a haven for moose and other large mammals. 

This conservation project was made possible due to the generous support from the Government of Canada (Environment and Climate Change Canada) and the Government of Manitoba.


 “Working with families is just one of many rewarding aspects of working at the Nature Conservancy of Canada,” said Josh Dillabough, Natural Area Coordinator. “We were so pleased to be able help the family pay tribute to their loved one while protecting such a rare and interesting property. The diversity of species in these sand dunes are amazing, not mention when on top the dunes you can see all the way across the Lauder Wildlife Management Area.”

“Our Government is taking real action to protect Canada’s natural treasures. By working together and investing in our environment, we will build a Canada that we are proud of for many generations to come,” said The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.


•    The Ethier Sandhill property is a unique sand dune property that connects to the 2590 ha (6400 acres) Lauder Sandhills Wildlife Management Area.

•    The Ethier Sandhill property is home to many species at risk and uncommon species, including the silky prairie clover which is a nationally threatened species at risk.

•    The Ethier Sandhills are ideal habitat for the nationally endangered prairie skink.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than  1.1 million hectares (over 2.8 million acres), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has helped conserve over 25,495 hectares (63,000 acres) in Manitoba.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership led and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). To date, $345 million has been invested in the NACP by the Government of Canada, with more than $400 million in matching contributions raised by NCC and its partners to secure our natural heritage.

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