Monthly Archives: August 2016

NEWSLETTER August 15, 2016

A short story with pictures that showcases a current example of the sorry state of range management on the Gilpin Grasslands.

Approximately 50 cows have been allowed to crop the grass to ground level in the Gilpin Grassland Class A provincial park immediately adjacent to Highway #3; a November cow range!

There are two parts to the story.

Range staff has made no attempt to move the cows even though their presence has been clearly visible to the driving public for a good five weeks.

The cows have destroyed a habitat enhancement project within a small fenced area constructed to exclude cows from Gilpin Creek adjacent to the Boothman Ranch house site.

Subsequent to the fence deciduous tree saplings were planted either side of the creek within the closure. White plastic pipe were used to protect most of the saplings, probably to protect them from rodents.

The guts of this story are driven by the fact that there was a fire early June caused by a vehicle dragging a muffler on Highway #3. The same vehicle caused an earlier fire on the north side of Highway #3 adjacent to the Stewart Creek gravel road east approximately 5 KM.

Sporadic rainfall for weeks resulted in a vibrant recovery of the grass which meant the inevitable- cows.

Statutes from the B.C. Range Planning and Practices Regulation

  1. Objectives set by government for water
  2. maintain or improve water resources.
  3. maintain or promote healthy riparian and upland areas.
  4. maintain or promote riparian vegetation that provides sufficient shade to maintain stream temperature within the natural range of variability.
  5. maintain or promote desired plant communities.

Another example from B.C.’s past that illustrates the sorry state of range management on Gilpin:

Range Management- Handbook for British Columbia- edited by Alistair McLean p.Ag, PhD Research Scientist

Agriculture Canada Research Station Kamloops 1979

“Grazing by domestic stock and wild ungulates is not always compatible but conflicts can be reduced or eliminated by good range management. For example individual range areas that are critical for the survival of game are seldom large. Wildlife should therefore be given preference over most other uses on such areas because grazing habits of game animals cannot be easily changed.”

Gilpin Creek is virtually the western boundary of the Gilpin Grassland Park. The NW corner of the park is 100 meters north of the 3KM board on the Gilpin Road. If you park your vehicle adjacent to a primitive barbed wire gate and open your eyes as you quickly descend a steep cow trail to Gilpin Creek you will witness the most outrageous example of erosion I have witnessed in 38 years of walking the mountains in the East Boundary.

If you walk adjacent to the creek to the Boothman Ranch house site you will find at least another 7 sites although not as outrageous that validate a recommendation by Doug Fraser, Range Practices Officer in his Nov. 2007 report titled “An Evaluation of the Streams and Adjacent Uplands in Overton Moody Range, the bookend watersheds on the Gilpin Grasslands.“ “Develop off-stream water to limit the use of Gilpin Creek by livestock”.

Of course Doug’s recommendation was ignored. My first field trip stop on Gilpin has always been the 3KM corner but I will leave the hundred plus pictures of cow damage on Gilpin Creek for another day!

Barry Brandow Sr.





NEWSLETTER July 29, 2016

Every year since the collapse of the land management vision advertised in 1994-96 West Kootenay/Boundary Commission on Resources and Environment that came to nothing I do something that makes the point that the management of the province’s wildlife resource is abysmal.

This year a wildlife friendly fence was constructed on the south side of the Lost Lake Marsh approximately 3-4 KM north of the City of Grand Forks.

I will send you pictures of before and after.

Thanks to the generosity of the city the use of their water license on Overton Creek has not been denied contrary to the silly self serving message on the back of the bench immediately adjacent to the marsh. Albeit a small story the results are impressive!

Will the marsh be compromised? Probably! Range management in B.C. to-day is best described by David Borth, the former provincial government range manager who in his earlier life was the Executive Director of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association.

I had convinced David to accompany me on a field trip on Gilpin July 2007. Give him credit; he wasn’t shy in striking his colors “we will never change”.

He also surprised me with his honesty when I asked him why Range Manager, Werner Baliko gave a prestigious North American Grazing Award to ranchers, Wally and John Mehmal November, 2006. “Werner was pressured to do something”.

Remember “Welfare Ranching” which you can find on your electronic device is a serious indictment of range management. will also give you information that challenges range management in B.C. especially in the Boundary. Check out E’Holt Creek, a fish bearing stream adjacent to Highway #3.

I will also send you a few pictures in the near future of the six acres of Nature Trust fenced last year. The fence has been vandalized twice by rancher, John Mehmal’s hired hand. I can’t prove it but when I came off the mountain late in the afternoon early May after walking the perimeter of the six acre fence I spotted Mehmal’s hired hand on an old quad bike repairing a fence near the quad bike loading area near Highway #3. Next morning I returned and discovered the six acre fence cut in three places.

A week later it was cut again adjacent to the Overton Road. Hardly surprising, the range bureaucracy is indirectly supporting this conduct.

Remember good government will support ranching but good government will also mandate the removal of domestic animals from; important water courses, quality recreation sites like parks and areas critical to wildlife!

It has been four years since Bruce Davidson, the activist from Walkerton, Ontario told the Walkerton story at the Grand Forks High School auditorium March 14, 2012. The story is driven by the fact that 7 people died, over 40 were left with lifetime health challenges and 2300 were violently ill all because of the dreaded 0157 e-coli bacteria pathogen in the town’s water supply. The Walkerton Water Management training facility verified that the final cost of the 0157 bacteria pathogen story will be either side of $200,000,000.

The next chapter is going to center around  Jeff Holliday’s story a pancreas/liver transplant recipient from Walkerton and the president of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association president, Elaine Stovin’s insulting hollow story that appeared in the Grand Forks Gazette March 14, 2012 “All too often the finger is pointed at cattle when the science proves otherwise”.

Jeff’s biography which he sent to me, is brutal and will be my push to get media attention; dialysis for 3 years, 40 pills daily, blind from broken vessels in eye, liver/pancreas transplant June, 2005 a large section of bowel removed, heart attack, eye cataracts removed.

A few months ago I received a phone call from Perry Grilz. Even though I had phoned him and left a message I was surprised he returned my call.

As I told you recently I had an unexpected illuminating conversation last August with recently retired provincial government range agrologist, Werner Baliko.

Werner had responded to my declaration that range management doesn’t exist because you cannot control the erosion from the cow and the resulting weeds nor is it possible to manage riparian areas. The cost and magnitude of just two problems get no attention because you can only play at a solution.

Werner’s response surprised me when he said range management was an oxymoron in other words a contradiction. But he also made the case that David Borth’s replacement Perry Gilz actually cared about the province’s grassland ecosystem.

I don’t believe my behavior is quite as bad as my reputation so I hope he does follow up with his suggestions and connect with me.


Barry Brandow Sr.

These are BEFORE!

These are AFTER!

NEWSLETTER June 28, 2016

Ray Demarchi , a well respected retired provincial biologist who was the senior biologist in the Kootenays for decades responded to my last newsletter and recommended I watch “Cowspiracy” on Netflix.

The essence of the Cowspiracy story which I watched months ago is that methane gas from the manure, a colorless, odorless inflammable hydrocarbon is a major reason why the planet’s temperature is rising.

The mad rancher quoted in Cowspiracy makes the case that if all the resources used to produce beef were instead used to produce food for humans then there would be a rational use of resources, a point made in “River notes” by Wade Davis- A natural and Human History of the Colorado

“The production of a single pound of beef requires on average 1800 gallons of water. The cultivation of alfalfa alone consumes 7.5 million acre feet of water close to half of the entire flow of the Colorado”.

“The vast percentage of the water diverted from the Colorado is overwhelmingly used for a single purpose to fatten cattle and support a way of life rich in nostalgia but inefficient in terms of consumption and ecological footprint”.

River Notes and Cadillac Desert The American West and its Disappearing Water by Marc Reisner are a compelling read for citizens fed up with the insulting self serving politics of the ranching industry.

In view of the work done by former B.C. Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell to address climate change why did his government insist on more cows on our mountains?

In response to the December 2009 Forest Practices Board news release “Plans for livestock grazing questioned” Ray wrote a powerful critique of range management and his message is a reminder why my 30 year journey to get justice for the Gilpin grasslands is just one ugly chapter after the other.

If you care about the future of the province’s grassland ecosystem and wildlife resource then I suggest you read and remember Ray’s critique which I am sending you. His quote that compares the economics of elk hunting versus the highly subsidized beef industry cuts to the chase and underscores one of the major reasons cronyism has the province’s wildlife populations on a death spiral.

“It seemed rather stupid to me that the elk resource which was grossing well over 10 million dollars per year with practically no cost to government other than a dozen or so conservation officers and wildlife biologist with a modest administration and inventory budget should be reduced in favor of an industry that produced 10 million dollars in beef for the same amount it cost to produce them”.

One of the many sources of information that will be used to make the case for the removal of the cow from the Class A Gilpin Grassland Park is Ray’s summary report Jan 1979 which describes the history of the 1972 1470 acre Boothman Ranch purchase and subsequent 1973 purchase of 475 acres by the National Second Century Fund renamed Nature Trust in 1984.

“Cattle are moved so that lower elevation, southwest facing slopes critical to the survival of native ungulates receive light use every autumn. Other pastures in the grazing system are alternately rested.

However the grazing system must be monitored to insure proper management of the forage and shrub resources critical to deer survival during late winter”.

The cow has won every fight so Ray’s advice was ignored as were the input from other credible sources that has resulted in one of our province’s first and finest grassland/wildlife initiatives becoming a casualty of a ranching industry that continually holds the public interest in contempt.

Please-there never were any bridges to burn!

Barry Brandow Sr.

Ray Demarchi Letter


NEWSLETTER June 16, 2016

Legal access to Crown land to-day is a small problem that is on the cusp of a much larger problem, a point made by the example I am presenting to you.

Jeremy McCall and his Outdoor Recreation Council colleagues have outlined their concerns in a recent e-mail directed at restricting or no public recreation to privately held forest lands over the years especially on Vancouver Island.

The outdoor recreation Council is seeking access to private land which I believe is a credible argument but in my world the issue is blatant attempt by landowners to deny public access by locked gates and/or signs.

As I have said in the past the first order of business on an access question is to pay the $50.00 and get a copy of the original land grant. I have done this twice and in both cases the conditions of the land grant made it clear that public access could not be denied.

The issue I am bringing to your attention appeared in a letter in the Grand Forks Gazette May, 2007 in which I explained why the Mehmal family cannot deny access to a quality recreation site in the SE corner of the Grassland Park on the Kettle River immediately adjacent to Highway #3.

Before the minutiae of how to encourage access to the river without trespassing on private property it is important for everyone to remember especially park employees who believe the Mehmals have a right to move the Park Boundary signs, a park with few visitations gets dam little respect from right of center politicians.

In this case I did not obtain a copy of the original land grant but in view of the egregious behavior by the Mehmals who have recently removed two southern boundary markers and the obvious embodiment of their behavior by the bureaucracy; it is time to get a copy of the land grant.

I have asked Parks in the past to identify the irregular southern border by GPS with park boundary signs, after all the family developed the beach site for their own recreation and denied public access so I don’t believe in view of the circumstances that a surveyor is necessary.

The pictures tell the story.

For historical perspective I am sending you a map reduced in size of a 1944 copy of the 15.92 acre land survey.

Notice the irregular southern boundary of the 15.92 acre southern boundary. I asked Barb Collins the CPR public relations gal April 2007 if she could explain the boundary but said she did not have the time to find the answer.

There are seven compass defined locations on the southern boundary that should have a treated post with a park boundary sign facing the railroad bed plus a boundary post to mark the west and east corner of the 15.92 acres.

It is my understanding that the survey was done in 1942 because of access granted to the rancher at the eastern end of the property.

I paid $50.00 for a map that a surveyor would deem legal hence the red color.


Barry Brandow Sr.


NEWSLETTER June 15, 2016

I am sending you a few newsletters that will document the how, when, where and why the cow and Gilpin rancher have won virtually every fight in spite of the money and effort of three provincial governments who have recognized the importance of Gilpin’s south facing grassland slopes and adjacent forest to a long list of animals large and small.

Two land conservancy initiatives have likewise recognized Gilpin’s importance to wildlife by purchasing 792 acres.

One of my major objectives is to chronicle my story via newsletters and pictures that will reinforce the obvious- good government will support ranching but honor its statutory responsibility and remove the cow from sensitive important environments; important water courses, quality recreation sites like parks and areas critical to wildlife.

From a provincial perspective it is true that the Gilpin moderate/steep grassland slopes and adjacent forest represent an extremely small percent of the B.C. land base but it is also true the Gilpin story in its entirety tells a story that showcases a grim future for the province’s wildlife resource if the cronyism and corruption that will be described is not reversed.

The tip of the triangle that describes my grievance with range staff and a major reason I relentlessly pursue a Wildlife Management Area designation is well described on page 3 of the November 2009 Forest Practices Board- Range Planning Under the Forest and Range Practices Act- Special Investigation.

“The investigation found that many MFR district range staff place a high priority on developing and maintaining long term working relationships with range agreement holders.

The Board agrees that maintaining good working relationships between range staff and agreement holders is important but notes that it is imperative that the relationships not cloud the responsibility of range staff to ensure that agreement holders meet the minimum requirements of the legislation.

Range plans that do not meet these requirements should not be approved and when range staff becomes aware of issues on the ground, compliance and enforcement staff should be brought in to investigate.”

I am going to send you three short stories and pictures that are a  good example of ranching politics and illustrate how the cow and ranchers are winning every fight on the province’s grassland ecosystem.

There are three major objectives to get justice for the Gilpin Grasslands all of which are supported by the preponderance of facts that speak on behalf of the public interest.

  1. Implementation of the Draft Management Plan July 2008 for the proposed Gilpin Morrissey Wildlife Management Area.
  2. Removal of cows from the Class A Provincial Gilpin Grassland Park.
  3. Fence cows out of Nature Trust’s 475 acres which is supported by the 99 year lease agreement signed with the Fish & Wildlife Branch in 1974.

Any cursory examination of Range Management politics in our province to-day would easily conclude that domestic animals primarily cows are in a major conflict with responsible water management. The most egregious example in the Boundary is east of Greenwood BC adjacent to Highway #3, a large number of animals on a small acreage have been allowed to compromise E’Holt Creek, a fish bearing stream. Piles of manure are extremely close to the creek. I will send you pictures.

The point is that when politicians refuse to lead and the public remains silent then it is a given the democratic process is likewise dead, all of which reinforces my opinion that it is long overdue to engage First nations and ask them if their values square up with the management objective that implemented will validate Gilpin’s importance.

    The 1994-96 West Kootenay Boundary Commission on Resources and Environment description of proposed Special Management Areas for the Gilpin Grasslands highlights the following facts:

Culture/Heritage– High

Traditionally this area supported native economic and cultural activity. Four precontact sites are recorded in the area.

Management Objectives

Habitat conservation and restoration is the primary management objective in this unit.

Management approaches should emphasize maintenance and restoration of natural grasslands and may include access limitations, weed control, management of rangeland and grazing activities and monitoring of habitat quality and performance.

Alice and Jim Glanville’s “Grand Forks- The first 100 Years” is a reminder that when the Grand Coulee Dam was completed in the 1930s that was the end of salmon in the Kettle River and likewise the end of any significant presence of First Nations in the east Boundary.

“For many hundreds of years Indians traversed the valley in their constant search for a livelihood. They were hunters and gatherers who came to the Kettle Valley to seek the abundance of wildlife, gathering the life-sustaining plants and roots.

Salmon plentiful at Cascade Falls provided an excellent source of food. According to Ralph Wolverton, an early pioneer of Cascade, the fish were so numerous that they could not miss them.”

The SE corner of the Gilpin Grassland Park touches the Kettle River and is only 2KM west of Cascade Falls.

Barry Brandow Sr.