News from SALTS

Stories, Articles, and News Items

SALTS has been in operation since 1998 and much has happened in that time. We are usually so busy making thngs happen on the ground that writing about our events and successes sometimes falls off the edge of the table. The news stories and articles below are not a full chronicle of happenings but we hope they will inform and entertain our visitors.


In Memoriam: James Prentice

October 14, 2016

It was with great sense of loss that we learned of the death of Jim Prentice. Jim was a thoughtful, principled and generous person who had a passion for the environment. As a politician he was known for competence and the ability to get things done. For those who rode with him on the Headwaters Trail ride in July of 2009, a period when he was Federal Environment Minister, Jim was a symbol of the national importance of protecting the water sources and native fescue grassland of the southwest Alberta foothills. He was a man of vision and action. (And a good rider!) He will be missed.

We extend our deepest sympathy to the Prentice family on their indescribable loss.

Jim with Alan Gardner and Kelly Hall on the SALTS Headwaters Trail Ride, July 2009


In Memoriam: Harvey J. Buckley

July 19, 2016

On Tuesday July 19 we received the sad news that Harvey J Buckley passed away. Harvey has always been conservation-minded. He was passionate about the water supplies for Calgary and he once said: "This whole drainage supports that little place called Calgary". He and his wife Margaret knew the importance to protect wild life, water and saving the big open spaces that make Alberta so special. In 2014 his family protected a significant portion of their property under a conservation easement agreement with SALTS.

Harvey will be dearly missed by us at SALTS and the many other groups with which he was involved. We extend our deepest sympathy to the Buckley family.

Celebration of Life will be held at Bow Valley Baptist Church (54 WestAarsby Road, Cochrane, AB) on Thursday, August 04, 2016 at 1:30 pm.
Click here for more information or to send your condolences.


In Memoriam: Francis W. Gardner

June 23, 2016

SALTS is very sad to have unexpectedly lost Francis Gardner on June 26. Francis was one of SALTS' founding directors and our first Board President, serving in that role for many years. He was not only instrumental in creating SALTS but played a much broader role in efforts to conserve our native grasslands and ranching heritage. He was a key spokesperson in high profile efforts to protect Alberta's eastern slopes from development and he and his family were recognized with awards for environmental stewardship on their own ranch. He was ahead of his time and helped to bring many along with him to share in his vision of a healthy grassland ecosystem alongside a healthy ranching industry.

His passion, energy, and sense of humour will be sorely missed but his vision will be carried on in the work of SALTS for years to come.
Click here for more information.


In Memoriam: Norman Simmons

May 24, 2016

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Norman Simmons on May 24. Norm was one of the ranchers who helped found SALTS in 1998 and served on the Board for a number of years. He had ranched in the Gladstone Valley with his wife Hilah since 1982 and his organic ranch is protected under a conservation easement held by SALTS. Previously, Norm had earned a Masters and PhD in wildlife biology and management and then held various wildlife biologist positions in Arizona and the Northwest Territories before taking up ranching in southern Alberta.

Norm was a person with a passion for protecting the natural world and helping others. His support and good humour will very much be missed. Our condolences to Hilah and their children.
Click here for more information.


Award for Collaboration in Conservation

October 2015

SALTS was recognized by the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative at an event in Banff on Friday, October 2nd. Y2Y's Ted Smith Memorial Award is for collaboration in conservation. This year's award, presented at an award ceremony in Banff, was given jointly to SALTS, The Waterton Biosphere Reserve, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada for their conservation work on private lands in the Waterton and Castle areas.

SALTS has been working in these areas for over 15 years and has completed many conservation easements from the boundaries of Waterton Park to the foothills outside the Crowsnest Pass.

Accepting the award on behalf on SALTS was Board President John Cross(right), Nora Manners (center) of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve, and Larry Simpson (left) of the NCC.


A Future Worth Protecting

April 2015

The final report of the Southern Foothills Study, Phase Three, has been released. This study titled A Future Worth Protecting examines whether the implementation of Beneficial Management Practices (BMP) will halt the decline in environmental quality and ecological integrity shown in the earlier Phase One report. The study suggests that even with the implementation of BMPs the decline will ultimately continue unless there are changes to land use planning.

You can download the report at the SFS Project section


Berry Urban is the new Office Manager

November 2014

The SALTS office in High River is now ably run by a new Office Manager. Berry Urban brings years of office management and financial accounting experience to the job and will be helping Justin take SALTS to a whole new level. She can be reached at the office phone number: 403-652-9998.

You can read more about Berry here.


Justin Thompson takes over as Executive Director

September 2014

The reins of SALTS have been taken over by Justin Thompson who, as the new Executive Director, will provide leadership to take the organization to a new level of activity in protecting watersheds, wildlife habitat, and our western heritage in southern Alberta. Justin, who has a B.Sc. in Biology and Environmental Science, and an M.A. in Public Administration, took over from Alan Gardner on the first of September this year. Alan will continue to help out with background support on a consulting basis. In addition SALTS expects to hire a new office manager in the near future. All of this will help to confirm and improve the capacity and stability of SALTS as a premier Alberta-based land trust.

You can read more about Justin here.


Harvey and Margaret Buckley Protect Ecological Services

July 2014

The future water supply for Calgary received some additional protection when Harvey and Margaret Buckley placed part of their ranch at Jumping Pound west of Calgary under a conservation easement. The rainwater collected by the native grassland and woodland on the easement flows into Pile of Bones Creek and Jumping Pound Creek and then into the Bow River near Cochrane. By protecting this land they have assured that it will continue as high-quality wildlife habitat as well as an excellent watershed. In addition it is a productive landscape that provides food for Albertans and the world. As Calgary grows this type of protection for upstream ecological services becomes more and more important.

The donation of the Conservation Easement was highlighted in an article in the Western Producer Magazine (read Producer article) as well as in the Calgary Herald (read Herald article)


MacEwan Foran Creates a Wildland Refuge

March 2014

The donation of a conservation Easement to SALTS on the MacEwan Foran property near Priddis received front-page coverage in the Calgary Herald on March 21. This easement will ensure that the land remains a wildlife preserve forever. Read the Herald article.

Heather MacEwan Foran is the daughter of Grant MacEwan who was a mayor of Calgary, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, author, and lifelong conservationist. Grant bought the property in 1940. Heather and her husband, Max, built their house on the property in 1974 and have lived there ever since.
You can read more here.


2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM)

March 2014

The Annual General Meeting of SALTS was held at the Memorial Centre in High River on March 6th. The executive presented their reports for the year and two new members were elected to the Board. The reports showed that SALTS has been very successful during the past year with a healthy balance sheet and three new conservation easements. Read more in the annual report. After the meeting a panel discussion on the conflict between bears and ranching created lively discussion. Panel members were Charlie Russell (Author and Naturalist), Kevin Van Tighem (Author and Naturalist), Jeff Bectell (Waterton Biosphere Reserve), and joined by Joe Oliver (Ranch Manager).


Southern Foothills Study Phase 3

March 2013

The Southern Foothills Study (SFS) was a groundbreaking community initiative using the science of Dr. Brad Stelfox to examine the result of increased development in the foothills of southwest Alberta using various indicators. A further extension of that study, Phase 3, has been looking at how the implementation of 'Best Practices' would affect the negative trajectory shown in Phase 1. With agreement on the coefficients related to change of landuse the study is now set for completion. Read more about this project here.


Protecting the Rock Creek wildlife corridor

December 2012

The bears, cougars, coyotes, deer, elk, moose and other animals that use the area along Rock Creek can be a little more happy this month. This is thanks to two landowner who placed new conservation easements with SALTS on their quarter sections in a key part of the corridor. Read more about this project here. The protection of this corridor is an important and ongoing initiative for SALTS in partnership with the Miistakis Institute.



July 2012

Most people now live in cities. Alberta is no exeption and of the 80,000 new people who swell the population each year, most of them will live in the larger cities. Fifty years ago it was common for city dwellers to have some connection to the land and agriculture. That is no longer the case. Can these two solitudes, the urban and the rural, appreciate each other?


Rock Creek Grant

June 2012

SALTS has received a grant of $5,000 from the Royal Bank Blue Water Project for work on the the Rock Creek Conservation Initiative. This initiative has a goal of protecting a critical north-south wildlife corridor across Highway 3 near Lundbreck. Read more about this project here.


Contents © 2015 Southern Alberta Land Trust Society       Photo: Horses on a ranch near Waterton Park - Alan Gardner

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