Tag Archives: pics

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.

www.boundaryalliance.org 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!