The Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area will open to the public for the 2019 season for limited recreational use excluding motorized vehicles, ORV’s, and hunting. Located just six kilometres south of Trail, the area is enjoyed by locals who fish, hike, ride horses and picnic on the property.
Owned by The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC), Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area is 964 hectares of grasslands, dry forests, rocky slopes, cliffs and caves running along more than eight kilometres of the Columbia River. It provides habitat to numerous species-at-risk including Great Blue Herons, Nighthawks, Canyon Wrens, Townsend’s Big-Eared Bats and Racer Snakes. The area also provides a valuable refuge for Mule Deer and Elk.
TLC previously opened the area to motorized vehicles on a trial basis however violations against permitted use and impacts to the sensitive, protected sections of the property persisted among motorized vehicle users, leading to the closure to motorized vehicles in March 2016 For the past three years the site has seen regrowth in areas of concern and an increased presence of wildlife.
Access to the Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area is permitted through Teck land, along the main access road only. Teck requests that all pedestrians remain on the main road through Teck lands and head directly to the Conservancy Area. Once inside the Conservancy Area pedestrians accessing the site are asked to remain on existing trails to allow for the continued rehabilitation of impacted areas. Horseback riding remains restricted to the main road or Dewdney Trail to minimize the potential for soil disturbance and invasive plant spread. Due to forest fire risk, no fires are permitted on site and no overnight camping is allowed.
“On a recent visit I was struck by the presence of deer, elk, coyote, and turkey tracks co-mingling on the sandy shore of the river,” said Cathy Armstrong, TLC Executive Director. “We are asking that the public respect the wildlife habitat that Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area protects.”
Management of the area is overseen locally by the volunteer wardens of the Trail Wildlife Association (TWA). TWA is a volunteer run conservation organization that works to protect, enhance and encourage the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
In September 2006, Teck Metals Ltd. announced the transfer of the Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area lands to TLC as part of its efforts to publicly recognize the Centennial of the founding of the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada Ltd. – now Teck Metals Ltd. The transfer of the land was completed in December 2008.