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Snake Creek Wildlife Association

In 1970 The Snake Creek Sportsman Association was founded by a group of local hunters and fisherman from Solsgirth, Foxwarren, Birtle, Miniota, Beulah and St. Lazare. It is affiliated with the Manitoba Wildlife Federation. One of its objectives is the conservation of game and preservation of wildlife habitat. The first officers were Dunc Johnston, president; Len Lane, vice president; Rick Edberge, secretary. Our Club became involved in many conservation projects both local and provincial over the years.

In the 1970’s the deer were having a tough winter so we became involved in a deer feeding program seen by the provincial Wildlife Deer manager Herb Goulder. Some local feed, as well as prepared feed, was used in surrounding municipalities of Ellice, Miniota and Birtle. This program was monitored to find quality, quantity and palpability of certain feed and affects on deer for the Wildlife Department. In 1988 Dunc Johnston was awarded the Manitoba Conservation Award for his efforts in conservation and deer feeding. Snake Creek Association was presented with the Wildlife Cooperation Award for its number of projects such as land lease, hunter safety training, deer feeding etc. The land lease program was funded by the department of Natural Resources whereby a land owner was paid a small amount per acre to leave land suitable for deer, upland game, bird etc. This was for land that could be bulldozed or drained. After hearing of these successful projects Alfred Taylor generously donated five quarters near Cooley Marsh to the Snake Creek Association to manage. We erected a cement cairn marker in his memory.

Our association was involved in many programs and projects over the years. In 1993 our Association was asked to appoint a representative to the Lidcliff Marsh management committee along with members of Duck Unlimited, Manitoba Resources, Russell Wildlife Association, Local Municipalities and local farmers. This committee served until Lidcliff was declared a Heritage Marsh. When the Habitage Heritage Corporation acquired Ed Pedrick’s section of land we were asked to appoint three members to a management committee. Dunc Johnston, Alan Stainer, and Delmar Bamford were appointed; later Dunc and Alan were replaced by Laurie Davison and Fred Haun. Delmar Bamford was one of the founding members of the Manitoba Wildlife Federation Habitat Trust which was set up to handle land after Mrs. Powell of Solsgirth donated two quarters to Manitoba Wildlife Federation. Habitat Trust has since acquired several thousand acres of land. Before his death, Dunc Johnston was awarded the prestigious Jack Dunlop award for his lifelong dedication to conservation and wildlife. Building a new fish ladder at Birtle was a dream of Dunc’s. Before he saw it completed he passed away and Delmar Bamford oversaw the finishing of the project.

Bicknell Freighters hauled the large pipe to Birtle, then to Foxwarren for fabricating, then back to Birtle. Birtle Parks Committee, under Sid Robert, completed the landscaping. Dave Bicknell has helped our association greatly over the years with volunteer trucking for projects such as deer feed, hides for habitat and other hauling jobs. Presently our association holds a fish derby for youngsters in the Birdtail River every summer. We sponsor a trophy night after the hunting season in December to award a number of trophies for best bear, elk, deer, etc. taken by adult or youth hunters by rifle, black powder or archery, and trophies in the fish categories. George Wilson’s Typical Whitetail Champion Trophy, donated in 1970 by his family, stands as Grand Champion Trophy. We have a full slate of awards and trophies donated by the members. Other sponsored events by the club are Indoor – Outdoor Archery Shoots, Trap Shooting, and family cookout excursions in the scenic Birtle area.

Over the last thirty seven years, our club has become a highly respected organization both provincially and locally. Currently the club has one hundred or so members throughout the area and the province. We have had three members serve on the Provincial Wildlife Federation Executive and members on a number of management committees. We have been asked to participate in numerous trials and experiments with Manitoba Natural Resources. We now have a young executive board, namely Alan Wilson, Ian Cottingham, Gerald Cooley and Leonard Jensen. We are positive that Snake Creek Sportsman Association will continue to show leadership in the future for conservation in the area.

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