Historic antelope-brush property saved

The Nature Trust of British Columbia announced the acquisition of a 12.32 hectare (30.4 acre) property in the Okanagan, at the south end of Vaseux Lake, between Okanagan Falls and Oliver. This acquisition and the adjacent Antelope-brush Conservation Area, which is also owned by The Nature Trust, are home to more than 20 species at risk. Most notably, this land supports more than half of the Canadian population of the Behr’s Hairstreak butterfly.

Bighorn Sheep, Pallid Bat, Desert Night Snake, Great Basin Spadefoot and Lewis’s Woodpecker are among other species at risk that are known to occur on the Antelope-brush Conservation Area lands. Securement of this property ensures the protection of important wildlife habitat and connectivity with other conservation areas for many species, providing greater opportunity for species to adjust to climate change.

This property is ecologically significant and has been owned by the same family for 127 years. The family has cared deeply about protecting it. One family member, George Kennedy, provides a descriptive history: “In 1886 Peter McIntyre settled in the South Okanagan on land beneath a massive cliff. His land spread from the Okanagan River on the west side of the valley to a fast flowing creek on the east side. He chose to settle here because of this creek, where he installed a large water wheel which he used to generate power for a small saw mill.” “The family has tried to keep the land as natural as it was when ‘Uncle’ Pete arrived. It is an ongoing and formidable challenge to protect a pocket of naturalness in the midst of so much development in the Okanagan Valley.”

The Nature Trust of British Columbia had the support of many organizations and individuals to complete this acquisition including the landowner, FortisBC, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Habitat Stewardship Program, Sitka Foundation, Grayross Foundation, and the South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club. This acquisition was also supported by individual donors to The Nature Trust’s Okanagan Grasslands Acquisition Fund. The landowner’s donation was facilitated by the Federal Ecological Gifts Program.