For four generations it has been a special place for the Brykaliuk family and a gift passed down from generation to generation. Today this tract of wilderness is a gift for all Canadians, thanks to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
“It’s been owned by our family since my father first homesteaded here around 1912,” said Stan Brykaliuk, speaking of the 320-acre parcel of wilderness-like habitat along the south side of Riding Mountain National Park. Four generations of the family have enjoyed this terrain that is now a gift from the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) under their Gifts for Canadians Program.
Each year, as part of their Gifts for Canadians Program, NCC designates one piece of habitat in each region across the nation. This property was chosen because of its unique natural features and its important contribution to the biological diversity within the area.
“NCC’s mandate is to provide a means for the long-term protection of properties with significant natural values,” said Gene Fortney, NCC’s director of land stewardship. “This property is located between Riding Mountain National Park and the adjacent agricultural lands. There are areas of the property that will be used for agriculture as well as other areas maintained as natural habitat for the most reclusive, human-fearing, wildlife species.”
The former owner is Milton Brykaliuk, a mixed farmer who lives in the immediate area, and his son is now the fourth generation of this family to reside here. Milton’s grandfather homesteaded here, arriving from Ukraine around 1912, settling in the Glen Elmo district north of Rossburn. He willed the land to his son who in turn passed it on to Milton’s father Stan. It was Milton who sold the property to the NCC so it can be enjoyed by everyone.
The purchase from the Brykaliuks is an important addition to the NCC Manitoba Region’s existing property known as the Elk Glen Project. NCC purchased 320 acres (130 hectares) from the Brykaliuks adjacent to their existing 800 acres (322 hectares).
“It’s a truly gorgeous experience to walk through this property,” said Fortney. “There is a well-used trail that will be kept open for non-motorized public use. The trail passes through several different natural communities including a shoreline view of the lake. Excellent opportunities for the photographer abound!”
At a time in history when habitat is rapidly disappearing, the NCC has a long-term plan for this site – they intend to maintain it in a natural state.
For more information about the Nature Conservancy of Canada please call the Manitoba Region’s toll-free number: 1-866-683-6934 or visit the NCC web-site: www.natureconservancy.ca.