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5 - Ranching and Grazing

11 months ago

Long-term relationships with ranchers are critical to the future success of a national park reserve in the South Okanagan – Similkameen. Although commercial livestock grazing is not typically allowed in a national park reserve, Parks Canada is committed to working with ranching families to provide certainty and stability on their respective Crown grazing tenures. Ranching families within the proposed national park reserve will be able to continue operating as they are today with a similar regulatory framework. Parks Canada is in a position to assist grazing tenure holders with capacity funding to work together to address common stewardship objectives. A transition plan is currently under development.

If you are a rancher and/or a holder of a grazing tenure in the proposed national park reserve boundary, the project manager will be in contact with you to discuss next steps and go over questions in greater detail.

Consultation has concluded.

  • Sagebrush 10 months ago
    Ranching in the south okanagan is already under extreme pressures and costs to ensure biodiversity targets are met, and that the land is sustainably managed to meet targets for rare and endangered species. Converting these tracts to a national reserve, or park, will likely be the final nail in the coffin and will get no better results. I find it hard to believe that Parks final end game is to keep working ranches working, providing a living, food, and large tracts of private land free from development pressure. Not buying the need for a park at all. Huge expense to taxpayers, limited benefits in the big picture.
  • maroonca 10 months ago
    In many ways the ability of locals to use and enjoy the land has been due to the generosity of the ranchers. They owned much of the easily accessible land up there, as well as built and maintained the roads. And the attitude of most of them has been that visitors (who were, after all, trespassing) were welcome, so long as they showed basic good sense and common courtesy- not bothering the stock, closing gates behind yourself, and not tearing up the countryside with off-roading. The ranchers tolerated a wide variety of uses, from hunting to-even- partying, in much the same spirit, so long as that credo of doing no damage and leaving things as you found them was honoured and obeyed.And considering that they’ve been at it for well over a century and a half, the footprint of the ranchers on the land has been extremely light. Yes, the land has been disturbed. Yes the ecology has been changed. But if the ranchers all quit tomorrow, that land would return to its ‘natural’ state pretty quickly, and with a minimum of remediation. (Compare that to other uses- say, the Fairview Golf Course (built on former ranchland, by the way, donated to the community by the Haynes/Thomson family) shutting down, or the vineyards being left to wither. When would that land come back? Answer: Never.)So Parks Canada approaching the ranchers in the spirit of generosity and good will isn’t just a courtesy: It’s an obligation. It’s a debt owed the ranchers for their stewardship. And that obligation should be honoured in less than obvious ways, too. Grazing tenures should continue not just on crown land but on private lands that, in future, are sold to Parks Canada. Access roads that allow ranchers to get to their land should not be de-commissioned. (They make great hiking and biking trails, anyway.) Etc.
  • ShawnHathaway 10 months ago
    For those that use atv or other other means to drive cattle down or up from grazing on park land how will Parks address those uses? Not everyone uses a horse for cattle drives.
    • carlamary 10 months ago
      This is a good point. How is the National Park going to address this? Are there other options for moving cattle other than horse and atv? If ATV is not an approved activity will the National Park hire and/or create jobs for horseman to help with this task?
      • ShawnHathaway 10 months ago
        I think this is where rushed time lines and promises have really impacted a thoughtful and productive discussion on these issues. They really need to be talked out to their respective conclusions to see where these impacts could lead and address them. I don't want to see more permits and costs attached to those in the area working it. If they use those methods already or want to switch to a new one that isn't like say using a chopper to heard their cattle that seems pretty fair and low impact. If they are bulldozing new roads into the areas for ranching that's pretty high impact and should be stopped. I think maybe cheap tagging GPS systems for cattle could be a way to stream line cattle grazing, tracking, and round ups. You can track in real time the areas they frequent, if those areas are being over grazed, what areas are under grazed, where you need to deploy your workers to get them. I don't know if that is financially practical but seems like it could be an idea.
  • carlamary 10 months ago
    I would like the efforts from the National Park to further support ranchers in the area. Provide incentives for these ranchers to up their sustainability game. Instead of pushing them out, they should be supported and lifted. Cattle ranching does have a large impact on the environment but individual ranchers should not be penalized. Rather, they should be encouraged to steward and operate sustainably. Also, as we move through a paradigm shift we may see less demand for beef and for more environmentally sound sources of protein. There will be struggles throughout this shift but humans really need to start changing attitudes and consumption patterns if we are going to live harmoniuosly with the environment.
  • Ashnola4all 10 months ago
    Removed by moderator.