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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 13, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta JO THE LETHBR1DGE HERALD Tuesday, June 13, 1971- Police Chief Michelson key duck lover By JOE BAI.IuV Herald Staff Writer rpHE WILD DUCK has police 1 protection in southern Al- berta all 11] e way. There is also utmost courtesy and hospitality and the wild waterfowl are made to feel wel- come wherever they go. This spirit of friendliness to- wards our wings of the wild is asserted in southern Alberta through Ralph D. Michelsotl, chief of police tor the city of Lethbridgc. In addition to being respon- sible for the upholding of the law in this city of people, Ralph is also a "Key Man" for bucks Unlimited, a unique, non- profit membership organization dedicated to the wise conserva- tion of waterfowl and the per- petuation of the noble heritage of walcrfowling. Practically all of the funds of the organization are collected in the United States, arid al- most everything is spent in tho breeding areas of the birds in Canada particularly Iho west. KEY MAN REWA1U) Being a DU Key Man is a non profit undertaking, but there are several hundred of them across Ihc country. It's reward is in watching the V- formationed flights that lierald the arrival of warmer tempera- tures in the spring and the nearness of winter in the fall. For decades these voluntary conservation fieldmen conduct- ed annual spring counts and summer brood counts over es- tablished routes particularly in the three Prairie provinces. Their observations also includ- ed special study areas, plant- food valuable to waterfowl on selected projects and water level readings, Educational films produced by DU have been screened in practically every section of Nortli America and in many parts of the world. Conserva- tion literature provided by DU has had an even wider distri- bution, most significantly among students. The waterfowl raising poten- tial of Alberta is an area oE main interest for Ducks Unlim- ited, and the southern-most part of the foothills province is given prime attention annually. Italph is the sou of Dan Mich- elson, who came from his na- tive Utah in 1902 and settled in the Stirling district. From child- hood, the senior Michelson had an interest in conservation and wildlife. It wasn't long after his ar- rival that his interests in con- servation hud him paying close attention to the wildlife on the nearby prairie lands. Later his sons Ralph, Glen and Duane wore to become very much a part of the way of life. Shortly after tlw First World War, civilization sprawled rap- idly westward across North America. There was on "real" disturbing factor as far as tlie sportsmen and conservationisls were concerned the vast, sky-darkening flocks of ducks were vapidly disappearing. The drastic decline gave rise to dire predictions of the death of our heritage to hunt. SOLID FOUNDATION It during this dark hour that a solid foundation for Ducks Unlimited was carved. It was in 1929 with the "More Game Birds For America jyjOUNTAIN MEADOWS Campground is a new fam- ily campground which will be open in Southern Alberta, this summer. It. will be operated by the Family Y, as a new phase in its coming program. The campground is located on a private ranch, nine miles southwest of Beazer, in the shadow Chief Mountain. It is fully serviced with camp tables, drinking water, firewood and sanitary facili- ties, and has capacity for 20 units or approximately 80 persons per day. The registration fee is per day for space and electrical hook-up. Four Y staff will be present on the campground, including, an out-trip specialist, a craft instructor and a naturalist, and programs for the entire fam- ily will be offered on a la carte basis, for a program fee of per day. Special events will also take place, throughout the summer on the campground. The rustic mountain setting affords limitless rec- reational opportunity, including, fishing, hiking, climbing, swimming and nature trails. Horseback rid- ing will also be available on the campsite for a nom- inal charge. Meals will be available on the campground, and campsrs will be free to make use of this service, designed to free mom from her regular chores and enable her to enjoy her camp holiday a little more. This loo, will be on a la carte basis, with meals being offered at charge of per person for three meals, or per person for one meal. All roads to the campground will be marked with directional signs bearing the Y emblem. The direc- tions to the campground are: 1. West on Highway 5 from Cardston, 12 miles to the Beazer turn. 2. Follow the Beazer road to Beazer four miles 3. Follow the Police Outpost Lake Road to cross- roads five miles. 4. Turn right at the crossroads for four miles. Campers wishing to make use of the camp- ground can arrange for any period or length of stay by reservation through the Y.M.C.A. at 515-9 Street South, or 328-7771. A special opening of the Y's new campground will be held June It and everyone is invited to view the site and take part in the activities. The camp is open to anyone in southern Alberta and it may be attended by only one or two members of a family. Foundation." In its search for an answer to the decline of he waterfowl populations, the foun- dation launched an extensive study that lasted several years. A key conclusion of tlte sur- vey was that more than G5 per cent of the wild waterfowl begin life in one of Canada's three Prairie provinces. It was also concluded that there was an ir- R. D. MICHELSON Land preparation vital to success Seeding any vegetable crop is of vital importance and therefore, land preparation and equipment readiness takes a good portion of the spring field time for farmers holding vege- table contracts. Homer Oudman, who farms five miles south of Taber, hold? a 50-acre contract for peas with Macdonalds Consolidated Lim- ited. He used the pea contract as a method of controlled crop ro- taion, usually planting peas on a field that had grown sugar beets the year before. Ted Bouwman, who works the land for Homer, said the actual land preparation started last fall when the field was fer- tilized and then plowed with a four-bottom unit. This turned tho soil completely over. This spring, the field was harrowed with a diamond drag, harrow, then worked with a rod weedcr and leveled. The harrows were again pul- led across the land, preparing a level seedbed. From th2 time of spring work to seeding two weeks had elap- sed. Seeding conditions were rc- portcr.1 excellent for peas and most of Hie soil was in proper condition. Using a hoe Ted was placing seeds at a rale of 21 per yard of pull. This ensures that the standing pea crop will have 19 plants in a given yard of row. The drill was set for a seven- inch spacing to facilitate the harvest combines. Ted said farmers use a disk drill also but his unit tends to give uneven depth and spacings and actually could ride on the top of the earth behind tire packed ground caused by tho tractor tiras. Seed for this field was plant- ed at a rate of 300 pounds per acre. It was purchased from a registered seed company. For best results, Ted had waited until the ground temper- ature had reached a fairly con- stant 40 degree Fahrenheit to ensure proper germination of the seed. Steve Knatiuk, fieldman for Macdonalds Consolidated, said pea seeding is usually started in the Taber district due to proper seeding conditions and an early start on the land due to the type of soil. reslstable onslaught of civiliza- tion through draining and cul- tivation, and further, that nat- ural floods and droughts were becoming extremely critical. To attack the task at hand, a group of far-sighted American sportsmen united to form Ducks Unlimited. It was incorporated in the U.S. Jan, 29, 1937 and it was ohortly thereafter that Halph Michelson picked up the challenge as a DU Key Man in southern Alberta. To actually construct the pro- jects and to handle the many facets of the gigantic building program, the companion Ducks Unlimited (Canada) was formed. Although there was a serious depression across the continent at the time, the determined sportsmen faced their task with sterness. When the senior Michelson was responsible for Ihe gather- ing of data, it was sons Ralph, Glen and Duane who did much ot the leg and field work, and together they laid the ground- work for a continuing list of DU projects in the south country. A big break came for the whole-hearted support of the American sportsmen, w li e n dominion and provincial gov- ernments in Canada, farmers, ranchers, communities and in- dustries granted long term land leases on wetlands. FIRST CONSIDERATION In Alberta the dried out re- gion of Brooks-Hanna received first consideration before at- tempts were made to move fur- ther south. It wasn't long be- fore farmers, ranchers and even communities realized tho values of involvement by DU. While the impoundments and wetlands built by DU wcro primarily for the reproduction wild waterfowl, underground water levels near projects be- came much more stable, there was water for stock, pasture- lands and various other agri- cultural processes. Many farmers and ranchers would have been unable to save their holdings had it not been their proximity to DU projects during droughts. As the current year takes shape, DU allocations show the organization has spent some million on wetlands for Can- ada's Prairies, which cover nearly project of various sizes. Tho water surface area is well in excess of one million acres, and shoreline is headed for the mark. The value of Ducks Unlimited projects LI estimated in terms of miles ot shoreline for repro- duction purposes. In some in- stances DU has joined with landowners and joint govern- ment-back grants to construct new projects. "But, even after all the years we have been around says Ralph Michelson, "we ara just beginning in many ways as far as the south country is con- cerned. "Stirling Lake south of Leth- bridge was gone once, but wo have it back. King's Lake in tho southeast has been a real asset to all concerned. And, there aro scores of others. "What about stabilizing the water level in Pakowki Lake? There's Eliikom Coulee and Verdigris Coulee to mention only a few." One of Ralph's main jobs now is contact man between tho landowners and DU where are the projects needed and best suited, and what can ha done about gelling them there. In addition to all this, DU has leg-banded thousands and thousands of waterfowl, and re- ports on their recovery hava been returned from many parts of the world, ;