Future of native grasslands in doubt – interview with Trevor Herriot

Posted by on 11. February 2014 in Blog / Journal, Conservation, News & Events | Comments Off on Future of native grasslands in doubt – interview with Trevor Herriot

Radio Canada International has posted an interview with the naturalist and Saskatchewan writer Trevor Herriot about the uncertain future of the native prairie grasslands found on former PFRA community pastures. One of my images of a stallion running through a prairie with sage brush was used as a page opener for the story posted on RCI web site.

Stallion running through pasture with sage brush. Val Marie PFRA community pasture, Saskatchewan, Canada (Branimir Gjetvaj)

Stallion running through prairie with sage brush. Val Marie PFRA community pasture, Saskatchewan


During the interview, Trevor spoke eloquently about the state of native prairie in Saskatchewan and all the wildlife that depends on the remaining large tracts of grasslands found on the former Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) community pastures. He also stressed the importance of a well-functioning pasture system for the small and medium-sized ranching operations and communities in rural Saskatchewan.  At the later part of the interview, Trevor advanced the idea of establishing a heritage rangeland on a set of three PFRA pastures in the extreme south-west corner of Saskatchewan. The tree pastures in question; Govenlock, Nashlyn and Battle Creek cover over 840 square kilometres of vast open prairie. This set of community pastures has been recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an Important Bird Area for it’s significance to local and migrating bird populations.

There is also a very important human heritage element at play – the great North American writer and naturalist Wallace Stegner’s family  homestead was located within the Battle Creek PFRA pasture. One of (many) Wallace Stegner’s legacies is a 2400 word letter that he wrote shortly after returning from a visit to southern Saskatchewan where he worked on the Wolf Willow, a childhood autobiography and a breathtaking account of life on the unbroken prairie of southwest Saskatchewan. The Wilderness Letter as it is now known, had an enormous influence in the movement to pass The Wilderness Act of 1964, a federal legislation that created the legal definition of wilderness in the USA. The Act created a formal mechanism to designate and protect millions of acres of wilderness on federal land in the USA. Unfortunately for Canadians, a similar legislation does not exist in our country.

You can listen to the full 10 minute interview by clicking on the “Listen” button at the Radio Canada International web site.

About the image: it was getting dark late in the day so I set the sensitivity to ISO 640, to alow for a slightly faster shutter speed. I panned the camera and followed the movement of the horse; that is why the sagebrush is slightly blurred. I selectively sharpened the horse a bit, to make it stand out from the surrounding vegetation.