Within the Ktunaxa Cultural Landscape in the East Kootenay, is the East Side Columbia Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Nestled within the WMA, is The Nature Trust of British Columbia’s Lemaster property. This conservation property provides important wintering range for Bighorn Sheep, staging areas for waterfowl such as Long-billed Curlew, as well as home for a wide variety of vulnerable animals including Grizzly Bear, Flammulated Owl, and Wolverine.

In addition the site has a healthy population of blue-listed Limber Pine trees. The Limber Pine is a small, scrubby tree that only grows at higher elevations on the western foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in the southeast of British Columbia.

Due to the rarity of this tree, The Nature Trust of BC’s Kootenay Conservation Youth Crew has been monitoring seedlings on the Lemaster Property.  The seedlings were planted by volunteers and the crew will assess the effectiveness of this property for growing nursery-raised seedlings. The Conservation Youth Crew program (CYC) provides college and university students an opportunity to learn first-hand about land conservation each summer.

This property has beautiful views overlooking the Columbia Lake, but until recently an old, decommissioned water tower stood down slope, obscuring the view and becoming a hazard. In 2019, the CYC began to disassemble old tower and remove it from the property.

The crew sorted the waste into combustible and non-combustible material. Non-combustible material (steel banding, tin roofing, PVC piping, etc.) was shuttled to a landfill site, and combustible material has been piled for burning. The supervised burning is planned for the winter of 2021. The burn site will be re-seeded in the spring of 2021.

This kind of habitat restoration is an important part of what we do at The Nature Trust of BC.