Early Times in
East Kootenay Ranching: 1860 to WWII
Pre-Emption Act opened
up BC lands for settlement
Late 1800s and
brought the first settlers to the East Kootenay during
this period and ranchers followed, hoping to make
their livings by selling beef to hungry miners. The
first herds were brought into the Kootenays over the
old pack trails.
Ranching was a very
marginal business with ranchers having to work off
the ranch for much of the year in order to pay the
bills. Marital partners had to be hardy souls who
not only raised the children and managed the household,
but earned money through the sale of eggs, butter,
or garden produce.
1919 Grazing Act introduced
provincial grazing guidelines.
Much of the Rocky
Mountain Trench was logged off in this period.
Fires swept through
the logged valley burning the underbrush, and creating
the open grazing lands that would later contribute
to the proliferation of wildlife and the viability
of ranching in the East Kootenay.