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The Loss of A leader

A Very sad day; We have lost a key Leader: Maurice Hansen

August 17th, 2023

It is with a heavy heart that the Rocky Mountain Trench Natural Resources Society and the Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration program announce the loss of one of our primary organisers, champions and our friend Maurice Hansen.

To gauge our loss of Maurice, you have to remember the history of Ecosystem Restoration in the East Kootenays. From the 1960s to 1989, the ongoing loss of grasslands forage in the East Kootenays was heatedly debated with 16 studies being created and published. Ranchers claimed there was a surplus of wildlife on the range and hunting groups felt there was too many cattle. To stop the accusations and focus on a solution a large research project was carried out under the leadership of a BC government agrologist, Don Gayton. The final report of the East Kootenay Agriculture/ Wildlife Committee was written by Don and Maurice Hansen in 1989. The report finally clearly delineated a problem, forest in-growth on grasslands, and it put both groups and other residents on a path to a solution, Ecosystem Restoration; thin the forests and reintroduce fire to the valley forests.

Maurice followed this report and committee work with a twenty year commitment to maintaining a healthy Trench ecosystem. Many efforts and highlights:

  • · In 1996, he was a member of the first Steering Committee of the Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration program, and then chaired the Operations committee in 1998.

  • · In 1998 he linked 11 local organisations hunting clubs, rancher associations, naturalists, wildsight, guide outfitter association into the Rocky Mountain Trench Natural Resources Society.

  • · He served as the first co-ordinator of the Trench Society, established it as an advocacy group and raised nearly $7 million for restoration projects. He retired from this going concern in 2008 handing the reins over to Dan Murphy.

  • · Maurice kept a high standard on science lead the first monitoring project at Miller Road in 1998, a project still actively being monitored.

  • · Always innovative he set up the first large sale harvest for Ecosystem standards at the 1500 hectare project at North Waldo area.

  • · In between all these project Maurice also served on numerous Boards The Grassland Conservation Council, the Long Valley community gazing association and his own ranch near Cherry Creek.

Maurice will be sorely missed. If you want to pay your respects to this consequential, pioneering force for conservation, his memorial will be held at the Kimberley Nordic Centre at 2:00pm Saturday August 26th. Please show up to support Maurice’s grieving family.

First Meeting of the Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program Operations Committee about 1997. Maurice is third from left in the back, standing row.



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