In 2015 the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) assisted the Waldron Grazing Co-operative in adding the historic King Ranch to the largest conservation easement in Canadian history.
Prior to this expansion, the ranch totaled 51,000 acres of land. In an $11.25 million deal, the Waldron Grazing Co-operative bought 14,000 acres of deeded and leased property, plus rights to graze forest reserve land.
One year later, NCC and the Cooperative placed an easement on this property as well, as it had done earlier with the rest of the Waldron holding, therefore assuring the entire block of deeded land will remain intact and conserved for all time.
The purchase of the property extended the Waldron grassland by an additional 4,200 acres of deeded land, 500 of lease land and 9,000 acres of forestry grazing rights amounting to 2,019 animal unit months.
The King Ranch was last owned by ranchers Bill and Cody Bateman of Cochrane, Alberta and prior to that by the eccentric multimillionaire King Brothers, Harold and Maurice (pictured below) — two colourful bachelors who helped shape ranching in Southern Alberta.
Often clad in binder twine suspenders, the Kings were the stuff of legend. They were known to be shrewd business managers despite their lack of formal education. Although, by the time of their deaths in the 1990’s, the ranch was worth millions, the brothers had lived virtually all of their lives in notoriously frugal, near total isolation, believing, for example, that neither electricity nor a bathtub were necessary comforts. Maurice and Harold King were Waldron Grazing Co-operative share holders.
The land of the Waldron ranch is used as a grazing co-op with 65 shareholders, who have livestock that graze there. By adding the King ranch to the Waldron ranch land, these lands will continue to be working lands, free from cultivation and development, thus keeping this pristine and critical area almost exactly the same as it has been for centuries.