Ask any resident what it means to come from Saskatchewan, and you’ll likely hear similar responses: experiences of prairie skies with equally jaw-dropping sunsets and storm clouds, rippling fields of wheat and canola, northern forests with fish-filled lakes.
Our kinship with provincial landscapes runs so deep that it is often these images that shape us and our identity as Saskatchewanians. The land provides the basis for our stories and for our connection to each other.
For Saskatchewan farmers, it also sustains livelihoods. When worked over the course of many generations, a deep and personal attachment to land can form, along with a desire to ensure its protection.
Conservation easements are legal agreements between a landowner and a conservation agency. Since landowners continue to own and manage their land, these agreements can be the perfect instrument to balance interests in working the land with protecting important natural and cultural features.
Protecting a family resting place
Terry Baker is a fourth-generation landowner from Denzil, Sask., farming land that has been in his family for 112 years. A conservation easement allowed Baker and his family to protect a valuable family legacy.
“When Dad passed away in 2002, we knew we wanted to place a memorial on the farm,” Baker confides. Baker’s father always took special pride in the grassland and the family cattle business.
An area of grassland of significance to the family was chosen as a memorial site where a small ceremony was held. Since then, other family members have expressed interest in this as their someday resting place, too.
A conservation easement was the right tool for the Baker family to protect their memorial site and surrounding area, while continuing to manage the land for grazing.
It is important for future generations to see themselves as stewards of the land, as we do now. It is comforting to know that business and environmental stewardship can work together to preserve what Mother Nature made.
Business and land stewardship, compatible objectives
Near Strasbourg, Sask., Lynn and Christine Wagner run a cattle operation on land that has been in Lynn’s family for years.
“We have four generations of continuous family ownership on our land. It is important for future generations to see themselves as its stewards, as we do now. It is comforting to know that business and environmental stewardship can work together to preserve what Mother Nature made,” Wagner explains.
A mix of tame pasture, natural lands and wetlands, the Wagner’s land provides forage for their cattle and also offers significant value as habitat for waterfowl and wildlife. Passionate about wildlife and hunting themselves, this couple wanted to be sure these natural features were protected and chose a conservation easement to make it happen.
Another undeniable facet of our Saskatchewan identity is pride – pride in our natural and our cultural heritage. Conservation easements allow us to manage land today in a way that ensures it meets the needs of the future, while simultaneously honoring the contributions of the past.
Have land you want to see protected?
DUC conservation easements pay approximately 30% of current land values and have no restrictions on haying or grazing.Conservation easements in Saskatchewan