TLC’s Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area has re-opened for the season for limited recreational use including fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and picnicking. Visitors are asked to remain on existing trails to limit impact to restoration activities and scientific studies. Photo: Submitted

TLC’s Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area has re-opened for the season for limited recreational use including fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and picnicking. Visitors are asked to remain on existing trails to limit impact to restoration activities and scientific studies. Photo: Submitted

Fort Shepherd opens; conservancy studies underway

Visitors asked to remain on existing trails to limit impact to restoration and scientific studies

The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) is asking visitors to respect in-progress studies and restoration efforts at Fort Shepherd now that the area is open for seasonal recreational use.

TLC opened the lands for limited public use on May 1, which includes fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and picnicking.

Visitors are asked to remain on existing trails to limit impact to restoration activities and scientific studies.

Volunteers, staff, and partners are carrying out a variety of work this year including: improving winter range habitat for deer, elk, moose, and other ungulates, such as increasing shrub and forage foods; planting native shrubs to improve plant diversity for pollinators and foraging; removal of invasive plants; studying endangered plant and animal species inventories; improving habitat for birds by installing nesting boxes for the endangered Lewis’s woodpecker, bluebirds, and other species; and promoting training and educational opportunities with post-secondary institutions.

TLC advises that hunting is not permitted at this time as stewards are conducting research on ungulate population health and long-term sustainability. This data will update the area’s revised management plan funded by Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

“Recent vandalism and theft of monitoring equipment has hampered the study,” TLC states. “Researchers request that the community cease these unlawful actions which prolong the hunting moratorium as gear and data must be replaced.”

As well, horseback riding remains restricted to the main road or Dewdney Trail to minimize the potential for soil disturbance and invasive plant spread.

No harvesting of species, fires, or overnight camp outs are permitted on site.

Bicycling and dogs on leash will be permissible on a trial basis.

Visitors are asked to adhere to pandemic safety protocols recommended by government and the local health authority.

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About Fort Shepherd:

Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area is 964 hectares of grasslands, dry forests, rocky slopes, cliffs, and caves running along more than eight kilometres of the Columbia River.

Located just six kilometres south of Trail, the area provides habitat to numerous species-at-risk including Great Blue Herons, Nighthawks, Canyon Wrens, Townsend’s Big-Eared Bats and Racer Snakes.

The area also provides a valuable refuge for mule deer and elk.

TLC acknowledges the dedicated stewardship of Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area by local partners including the Indigenous Guardians, Okanagan Nation Alliance, and the Trail Wildlife Association (TWA).

TWA is a volunteer-run conservation organization that works to protect, enhance, and encourage the wise use of the environment, by overseeing local management of the area.

Those interested in getting involved in restoration activities at Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area can contact Karen Iwachow, TLC’s environmental technician and land manager, at 250.479.8053 or email kiwachow@conservancy.bc.ca.

About TLC:

The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) is a non-profit, charitable Land Trust working throughout British Columbia. TLC’s primary mandate is to benefit the community by protecting habitat for natural communities of plants and animals.

Founded in 1997, TLC is membership-based and governed by an elected, volunteer board of directors. TLC relies on a strong membership, donors, and its volunteer base to help maintain operations.



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