Whitemud

Established: 1967
Area: 23,763 acres (9616 hectares)
Region: Lower boreal highlands natural subregion
Nearby municipalities: 22.5 km northeast of Dixonville
Livestock management:

Whitemud Grazing Association (privatized April 1, 1996)

Looks after livestock and maintains the tame pastures in good, productive condition.

Maintains all fence lines, dugouts, corrals and the buildings located at the headquarters site.

Grazing season: Mid-May to Mid-October
Cattle: 4,800 head
Recreation Activities: Hiking
Skiing
Snowmobiling
Berry-picking
Industrial activities: Oil and gas production

In 1963, a group of Clear Hill's district farmers met to discuss the possibility of setting up a grazing association. A year later, an inspection by the Department of Lands and Forests found the land to be suitable only for grazing clearing the way for the project to go ahead.

Although deer and moose hunting are probably the most popular recreational activities on the Whitemud Provincial Grazing Reserve, along with hiking, skiing, snowmobiling and berry-picking. The reserve is located 22.5 km northeast of Dixonville.

Resource activity in recent years has focused on natural gas. A number of wells, access roads and pipelines are now located on the property, along with two gas compressors stations.

This reserve takes in a total of 23,763 acres of undulating land and is located in the dry mixedwood natural subregion. The Whitemud River and several small creeks form the reserve's main topographical features.

Although larkspur is scattered throughout the reserve, this poisonous plant is primarily found along the riverbanks. It requires good management on the association's part to limit the livestock losses resulting from the animals eating this poisonous plant. Unlike most poisonous plants that cattle eat and die from by accident, cattle will especially seek out this plant at certain times of the year, usually during dry periods. By not having the cattle in the infested areas during these dry periods, the losses can be minimized. Another preventative measure is to water cattle at dugouts rather than allowing them access to the river.

While fence construction was underway, the local farmers operated the reserve on a year-to-year basis. The first meeting of farmers held on May 2, 1967 to discuss grazing cattle on the reserve. At that time, an advisory board of five people was chosen.

Clearing work started in December of 1967. To accommodate wildlife habitat they used a checkerboard pattern. Since then, many of the areas originally left untouched have been cleared or reduced in size. This permitted cattle movement and helped with reserve management. To date there is 10,500 acres of land developed into tame pasture. All of this pasture is north of the Whitemud River. Even with this amount of development, a considerable amount of acreage of forested land remains outside the fields.

The diverse pattern of development intermixed with the standing forest, has resulted in excellent wildlife habitat. This has been somewhat detrimental to the livestock through predation by wolves. The association has started to use the undeveloped portion of the reserve on the south side of the river when moisture is limited.

The reserve is an active location for the oil and gas industry. With several new wells drilled over the last few years, applications for new sites continue to be processed.

The grazing season runs from May 15 to October 15 accommodating approximately 4,800 head of cattle. The Whitemud Grazing Association also pioneered the concept of early weaning of some of the herds in order to take advantage of an annual cattle sale held each fall at the reserve.

This association was the pilot group to determine if the association could employ grazing management successfully. On April 1, 1996, the association took over the day to day livestock supervision function. The pilot was successful and the concept was applied to the remaining reserves.

Provincial Grazing Reserves are popular recreational sites for the general public. Following is a list of conditions that need to be adhered to when recreating on the Whitemud Provincial Grazing Reserve:

Regulatory Conditions of Recreational Access

Under Sections 9(3) and 9(4) of the Recreational Access Regulation, recreational users must:

  • Not litter;
  • Have direct control of any animal brought onto the agricultural disposition land;
  • Not park vehicles so that they block an approach to land;
  • Not enter or use any building or improvement on the disposition;
  • Not cause any damage to the agricultural disposition land or the property of the disposition holder;
  • Leave gates and other property as they were found;
  • Comply with an applicable recreational management plan, if any; and
  • Comply with the restrictions, prohibitions, terms and conditions, if any, imposed by the Local Settlement Officer, or Director.

Specific Access Conditions for this Disposition:

  • LSO conditions – Foot access for recreational purposes is allowed during the grazing season (May 1 to October 31) only in pastures not occupied by livestock.
  • LSO conditions – No access is allowed to pastures where livestock are present.
  • LSO conditions – From November 1 to April 30, motorized vehicles are allowed on developed roads only.
  • LSO condition – Organized recreational groups must obtain a Letter of Authority from the Grazing Reserve office.

For more information, see:

 

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Updated: Sep 17, 2015