Rock-a-boo Ranch is located in Brisco, BC, half an hour north of Invermere, British Columbia in the East Kootenay. The property was first purchased in 1850. John and his family have farmed the land since 1910 (100+ years), and have been homesteaders in the region since 1888. In addition to cattle, the farm also has sheep, ducks, goats and chickens, as well as 2 guard donkeys. John, and the Rock-A-Boo Ranch was one of the first Farmland Advantage projects in the region. This was borne out of a need to protect the unique Lower Bugaboo Falls, the largest cedar grove/rainforest ecosystem in the East Kootenay and one of only 6 overall. Historically these were salmon spawning grounds and a location of meeting for the aboriginal people. John recognized the need to protect this site from having his animals use it for grazing and watering.
In addition to this ecologically and culturally significant site, John also fenced off an area of forest, building alternate shelter so that the trees would not be destroyed from over grazing and bark rubbing. And finally as part of the project, he fenced his cattle from being able to access the crown land of the Columbia wetlands. This saved him time in animal management and reduced mortality risk and also aided in preservation of the sensitive wetlands.
Project highlights include:
- Preservation of globally significant wetlands
- Preserved habitat for species at risk
- Decreased animal mortality risk
- Restored the health of the rare forest area
- Increased water quality in ecologically sensitive rain forest
- Easier animal management
- Improved water quality
Through John’s foresight the Lower Bugaboo Falls and adjacent wetlands continue to be a fairly pristine wonder of the region contained on the private farm lands.