Harrold King and Maurice King
❝ A historic southern Alberta ranch once owned by eccentric multimillionaire brothers will now be protected from future development.
The King Ranch, located along Highway 22 (the Cowboy Trail), has been added to the Waldron Conservation Project, the largest conservation easement in Canadian history.
The land now protected extends to 14,058 hectares of ecologically important grasslands and is linked to other protected lands in the area, such as the 28,000-hectare Bob Creek Wildland Park (the Whaleback) and the 39,000-hectare Porcupine Hills Forest Reserve.
❝ “This last one per cent of the Northern Great Plains has a complete (array) of wildlife. The space is really important, really precious,” said Larry Simpson, associate regional vice-president for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, which signed the agreement with the property owners, the Waldron Grazing Co-operative.
“If we were talking about the Serengeti, the last one per cent of it, people would go, “Oh, my God, we’ve got to conserve it. But the Great Plains are North America’s Serengeti.”…
❝ The Waldron co-op bought the King Ranch in 2014 for $11.25 million with funds received from a conservation easement the Nature Conservancy purchased on the Waldron Ranch a year earlier. The King Ranch had last been owned by Bill and Cody Bateman of Cochrane but is renowned for its original owners, Harrold and Maurice King, who died in the 1990s.
The bachelor brothers lived together for 60 years in a log cabin on the property. They lived in self-imposed isolation without electricity or indoor plumbing, and were often seen wearing old pants held up by twine suspenders. But despite their frugality, they were well-read and shrewd businessmen who poured all their money back into the ranch…
❝ The ranch is in native fescue grassland, of which less than five per cent remains in Canada. The area is considered one of the most threatened regions in the country. Simpson says the NCC’s conservation easement here prevents further development and will help conserve water quality, mitigate floods and maintain the watershed of the southern foothills. The land is also a prime wildlife corridor for bears, cougars, elk, deer and moose. The King Ranch is also home to the ferruginous hawk, which is on Alberta Species at Risk’s threatened list. The endangered limber pine can also be found here.
RTFA. I’ve known beaucoup characters like the King Brothers. Cripes, my kinfolk may not be quite as frugal or isolated; but, most still own and crop the farms that have been in the family since we landed in Canada in the first half of the 19th Century.
Nothing big like the Kings. But, the family attachment to the land is as strong.