Kirk and Gail Bridgeman have raised horses and stewarded their land unfailingly for decades.
On their second-generation ranch near Rapid City, Manitoba, Kirk and Gail Bridgeman have raised Quarter Horses and Appaloosas since 1981. Since then, their operation has evolved into a family affair, supported by their daughter and son-in-law, Kristy and Tyler Gilchrist, and their granddaughter, Traci.
At Bridgeman Land & Livestock, Kirk and Gail have always made it their mission to achieve harmony with the natural environment. Joining ALUS Assiniboine West (formerly ALUS Little Saskatchewan River) in 2015 was a perfect fit for the Bridgeman’s environmental ethos.
“ALUS aligns with our management beliefs,” said Kirk. “We’ve been here for 38 years and never pushed a tree down.”
With ALUS Assiniboine West, the Bridgeman’s have conserved over 25 acres of wetlands and planted a shelterbelt on their land. The shelterbelt consists of poplars, dogwood and forage areas that help support the pasturing of the Bridgeman’s horses, supporting a holistic relationship between the land and the herd.
Situated in the Little Saskatchewan River Valley, the Bridgeman’s property is home to a creek that runs across the breadth of their land with tributaries that go back kilometres. The wetlands further support the natural environment by storing water and providing buffers to the watercourses on the Bridgeman’s land. The natural buffers work by slowing water movement across the land and filtering excess nutrients from the creek before it can accumulate in the Little Saskatchewan River downstream of the ranched land.
The Bridgeman’s ALUS shelterbelt and wetlands provide a permanent ecosystem of plants, animals and insects that provide immeasurable value to the surrounding land.
In fact, ALUS isn’t the first to find the Bridgeman’s to be devoted environmental stewards. In 2002, Bridgeman Land & Livestock was named the Little Saskatchewan River Conservation District Conservation Farm Family of the Year in recognition of their commitment to the health of their land.