A conservation easement agreement for a 3,000 acre ranch in southwestern Alberta has been reached with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Owned by Reno and Corine Welsch, the ranch is located on the southern side of the Porcupine Hills, 20 kilometres north of Pincher Creek. It overlooks the Oldman River Valley and has been under significant pressure for residential development. It is also close to the Waldron Ranch and King Ranch, which are also protected landscapes.
The ranch has intact native grasslands and a wildlife corridor. Bears, cougars and some threatened species like limber pine and ferruginous hawks are also found there.
Reno Welsch’s father emigrated from Germany in 1929 and invested in his own property in 1947. Reno started ranching in 1971, and in 1988, he and his wife Corine moved to the Porcupine Hills, where they established the Welsch Ranch.
The conservation agreement allows landowners to retain ownership. It is a legally binding contract recognized by both provincial and federal law, and remains in place even if ownership of the land changes in the future.
Over the past 20 years, the Nature Conservancy and other land trusts have assembled more than 100,000 acres of private conservation lands along Alberta’s eastern slopes.