Southern Alberta Land Trust Society
If you love something it’s natural to do everything in your power to protect it for the future. That pretty much sums up how the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society (SALTS) spawned almost two decades ago. Today this non-profit charitable organization has protected thousands of acres of picturesque and productive Eastern Slopes rangelands in southern Alberta.
On a chilly February evening in 1997, in a country schoolhouse in southwest Alberta, a group of concerned foothills ranchers met to hone a vision and plan to establish a community-based rancher-driven land trust society. Land trusts are most often created to preserve important ecological aspects of a region. They are quickly becoming a popular conservation tool, though they can be set up for a host of other purposes. The ranchers aimed to preserve the ecological, productive, scenic and cultural values of Alberta’s foothills and prairie rangelands found along the Eastern Slopes. Incorporated into their founding documents is the unique goal of preserving ranches and rangelands.
SALTS was incorporated in 1998 and within a year protected 2,000 acres of foothills rangelands. SALTS is an organization sanctioned to hold land conservation easements. These are voluntary legal agreements between a landowner and a land trust organization where the landowner places restrictions on the use of the property to protect natural values of the land. They key on initiatives including conservation easements for succession planning for ranch families, tools for the study and protection of
important ecological areas, and support for range management and riparian health.
It didn’t take long for recognition and accolades to flow in. In 2001 SALTS won the 2001 Countryside Canada Stewardship Recognition Award as well as Alberta’s prestigious Emerald Award in the non-profit category. By 2015 SALTS had protected 16,000 acres of rangelands held in 35 conservation easements.
SALTS is focused on that stretch of the Cowboy Trail between Longview and the Waldron Grazing Co-op. They’re mapping important watershed, wildlife and aesthetic areas of critical value in order to work with others in spearheading preservation efforts.
For more information about SALTS and their conservation efforts visit their website at: salts-landtrust.org
By: Larry Thomas