Ya-Ha Tinda Ranch
The Ya-Ha Tinda covers 3,945 hectares, running 27 km along the north bank of the Red Deer River. Approximately one third of the ranch area is natural grassland and two thirds is mixed forest. This productive montane area has an abundance of wildlife including grizzly bear, wolf, cougar, moose, deer, and bighorn sheep.
Ya-Ha Tinda means “Mountain Prairie” in Stoney.
The Stoney named this unique place in the mountains when small bands of Aboriginal people migrated here from the central prairies in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today it is one of the last unspoiled areas of natural grass and scrubland in Alberta.
The grassland here is ideal for raising horses for mountain travel. It is the only federally operated horse ranch in Canada.
This is a working ranch. Ranch hands raise, break, train and winter about 270 horses used by wardens to patrol the backcountry of Banff, Jasper and Kootenay national parks.
You are welcome to enjoy the area, but please respect the ranch work underway. Please stay in areas designated for public use and obey all posted signs.
Ranch history is linked to preserving mountain wilderness.
The Brewster Brothers Transfer Company needed winter pasture for their horses and obtained a grazing lease here. By 1919, Jim and Bill Brewster were ranching at the Ya-Ha Tinda raising and breaking horses for their mountain guide and outfitting business.
After several park boundary changes, the Ya-Ha Tinda was again within Rocky Mountain Park (now Banff National Park) in 1917 when the park took over the grazing lease from the Brewsters. The ranch became the warden district head quarters, providing winter grazing for park horses, breeding and training ensured the quality horses needed for mountain travel. Breeding records have been maintained since 1938.
The ranch was excluded from Banff National Park boundaries for the last time in 1930. An agreement between Canada and Alberta in 1958 gave the federal government ownership and management of the land. The province of Alberta is responsible for the wildlife management and the mineral rights.
Many of the original buildings are protected heritage buildings, significant in the ranch’s history. Horses raised at the Ya-Ha Tinda still play an important role in the park warden service's long tradition of preserving and managing mountain national parks.
Thanks to TIE for the great photo of the view
The hike into the cache site is just under 12 kilometres round trip. On the way, you can stop and visit the Bighorn Falls (waypoint listed below). The majority of the hike is relatively easy and follows an old reclaimed road (now a 12 lane horse trail). From the trail head, follow the horse trail to waypoint01. Here, you have a choice. You can head east to waypoint02, and then head up, grabbing caches along the way....or you can head west to waypoint01B, and then up the steeper, shorter route. My recommendation is to head east and up to the Virtual, and then return back down towards waypoint01A. I have included the tracks to both routes in the gallery. (also directly below)
To log this Virtual:
1). Visit the cache site.
2). Post a photo of the great view of the Ya-Ha Tinda area and include yourself/your group or your gps in the image.
E-mail the C.O. answers to the following:
3). What was the year the Ya-Ha Tinda was finally removed from the National Parks for the last time?
4). Describe the rock formations and the unique item at ground zero.
5). Did you get whistled at as you approached the virtual? If so, name the source of the whistle?
Please do not post any photos of the unique object in your log. Logs without the required e-mail will be deleted .
Special thanks to the pickledherrings clan for coming up the mountain with me and helping set up this Virtual. I couldn't have done it without you!!
Congratulations to Sleepy_hollow on the FTF!!
Virtual Rewards 2.0 - 2019/2020
This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between June 4, 2019 and June 4, 2020. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards 2.0 on the Geocaching Blog.