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We've said it once, and we'll say it a million more times: "Without partnerships we would not be accomplishing half as much for conservation." Golden Ranches is a noteworthy example of just how much can be accomplished. The site was a privately owned and operated working ranch from 1950 to 2008 when the owners decided to sell. Strathcona County, fearing future possibility of subdivisions, brought their concerns to Brad Fenson with Alberta Fish & Game Association.

Fenson was quick to call ACA, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Edmonton & Area Land Trust, and Nature Conservancy Canada. Working together, the land trusts along with commitment and involvement of corporate partners and anonymous donors were able to raise enough funds to purchase the land. Golden Ranches was purchased piece by piece over a decade, thanks to the considerable patience of the previous owners.

The ranch's location and size made it a significant contribution for conservation. Located in the Cooking Lake Moraine—internationally known for its highly productive wetlands—the site features 8 km of shoreline and connects Elk Island National Park and Blackfoot Grazing Reserve to the north with Ministik Bird Sanctuary to the south, creating a conservation corridor of 277 sq. km. Definitely an area we'd want to remain wild.

As the parcels have been acquired, nest boxes have been installed, removal of common weeds is ongoing, and over 200 acres of native trees have been planted in an effort to reclaim some of the cleared areas. Many of these enhancements are due to the hard work of volunteers. On top of that, Ducks Unlimited Canada has constructed 29 ditchplugs to restore and maintain approximately 37 acres of wetland. Other areas are being assessed for further wetland restoration projects.

Partners—be they corporate, member groups, or conservation-minded individuals—are the reason we get so much done. Thank you.

With a Little Help From Our Friends

Golden Ranches was purchased in collaboration with Alberta Fish & Game Association, Edmonton & Area Land Trust, Nature Conservancy Canada, anonymous donors, Environment Canada, Matrix Solutions, Suncor Energy Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and the Wildlife Trust Fund.

For more information on land conservation, please contact:
Darren Dorge
Land Management Program
(403) 562-3292