Princeton Grasslands – MapleCross Meadow (Phase II)
Similkameen Valley, British Columbia
The Nature Trust of British Columbia – 2020
390 hectares (963 acres)
The Nature Trust of British Columbia acquired a 963-acre property – the second phase of our three-phase grassland acquisition near Princeton in the Similkameen Valley. The first 1,100 acre acquisition was completed in 2019 and Phase II nearly doubles the size of the complex, now called Princeton Grasslands – MapleCross Meadow (Phases I & II).
Phase II supports the most mixed habitat of the three Princeton Grasslands parcels. The eastern side of Phase II is native grassland that rolls west into coniferous forest and mixed woodland. The property includes four wetlands and two ponds.
The property includes critical habitat for the endangered Williamson’s Sapsucker, a small woodpecker that gets its name from drilling rows of shallow holes in tree bark and licking the sap that flows from these holes. Later the bird returns to eat insects that become caught in the sticky residue.
There are many species of birds in these grasslands. Distinctive blue and rust-coloured Barn Swallows dart through the air catching insects as they fly. Olive-sided Flycatchers perch high in the trees singing. Night brings the hollow, high-pitched hooting of the Western Screech Owl.
In winter, Mule Deer range on the property. Mule Deer have difficulty in deep snow and move down from higher elevations during winter to feed on the leaves, twigs and shrubs of low-lying grasslands. As Spring approaches they move back up to higher elevations following the Spring growth. Mule Deer play a vital role in their ecosystems by providing food for many predators, including Cougars, Bears, and Bobcats.
Each of these species depends on multiple kinds of habitats to live healthy lives and contribute to the ecosystem. Large, protected areas are the best way to ensure these species thrive.
The Nature Trust of BC appreciates the support of all those who made this conservation achievement possible: the Atkinson family, the Government of Canada through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, MapleCross, the Lightburn family and other supporters. Together we will leave a lasting legacy to nature.
Content and property pictures courtesy of: The Nature Trust of British Columbia at https://www.naturetrust.bc.ca/