OH Ranch, AB (Photo by Karol Dabbs)
Conservation Region: Rocky Mountain Front
Natural priority area: Southern Foothills
Making history on the OH Ranch
In the rolling foothills of Southwestern Alberta, cowboys ride the range using traditional methods to move cattle. The conservation of remarkable places like OH Ranch and the vision of landowners like Doc Seaman are great examples of working landscapes — areas where conservation goals are balanced with the economic needs of local communities. In this case, the work of the ranchers who have cared for these lands for over a century can continue, while the conservation agreement and Heritage Rangeland designation ensures the land is protected by restricting the types of activities permitted on the property.
The 6,500-hectare (16,000-acre) OH Ranch shelters habitat for a remarkable variety of species. Several sensitive and rare species have been listed on the property, including northern pygmy owl, Cape May warbler, sharp-tailed grouse and bull trout. Limber pine can be seen on several ridges on the property, and grizzly bear have been known to travel through it.
The property is immediately adjacent to core provincial grizzly bear habitat that the province of Alberta is designating as part of its effort to manage this vulnerable species. It is believed that this land will be key to the long-term survival of the species in this region.
The land is adjacent to other Crown parcels of Kananaskis Country, adding connectivity and open space to other important wildlife habitat and conservation lands.
"OH Ranch is a unique conservation project, providing habitat for a number of different species," said Bob Demulder, regional vice president for the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Alberta Region. "It serves as a great example of how conservation should happen — with a number of committed partners, government, NGOs and private landowners all working together to conserve significant land and water for the species that depend on them. NCC is proud to be part of this significant announcement."
History of the ranch
In 1918, the OH Ranch, brand and cattle were all purchased by Pat Burns, who was one of the Calgary Stampede's "Big Four," the major cattlemen who started the Calgary Stampede in 1912. The OH Ranch changed hands a few more times before Daryl "Doc" Seaman purchased the working ranch in 1987. Born in Rouleau, Saskatchewan, Doc moved out west after serving as a pilot in World War II.
Click on the photo below to enlarge the image and for detailed photo credits.
American Goldfinch (Photo by Ken Knowles)
OH Ranch, Bow Natural Area, AB (Photo by Bob Lee)
Elk (Photo by Bob Lee)
Grizzly Bear, OH Ranch, AB (Photo by Karol Dabbs)
Horse, OH Ranch, Bow Natural Area, AB (Photo by Karol Dabbs)
OH Ranch (Photo by NCC)
White Crowned Sparrow, AB, (Photo by Karol Dabbs)
Young Bald Eagle, AB (Photo by Karol Dabbs)