Remembering Gary Bowden

Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship: Gary Bowden
Photo: Lisa Scott
The conservation world has lost a true friend. Gary Bowden of Surrey lost his battle with cancer in May of 2013. Gary and his wife Pat owned property in the Keremeos area, and have been partners of the SOS Stewardship Program for a decade. Gary was passionate about learning everything he could about the natural world, and doing what he could to protect it. Gary was born a farmer, according to Pat. In 1981, they partnered with another couple to purchase the valley bottomland in Keremeos (Olalla) which became known as “Crowbar Ranch.” They brought their collective small herd of purebred Hereford cattle from the Cloverdale area and the ranch evolved in size and nature over the years. In 1993, Gary and Pat took exclusive ownership of 161 acres of the property and the rest of the ranch property was subsequently sold. Thereafter, the property became a place of solitude, learning and discovery for Gary and Pat. The cottonwood forests along Keremeos creek, steep rocky slopes, open sagebrush shrub-steppe and pasture land support an abundance of wildlife, including numerous species at risk, most notably Mormon Metalmark butterfly and Western Rattlesnake.

A perpetual student, Gary had an insatiable thirst for knowledge. A visit to the property always resulted in pockets full of unknowns for future identification. Gary readily invited researchers and surveyors onto the property to learn more about the natural wonders, and he eagerly tagged along. Gary was never idle on his regular visits to Keremeos – he fenced cottonwoods to protect from beavers, installed
owl boxes, piled prunings for wildlife shelter, pulled invasive plants and attended field days. His positive demeanor, enthusiasm and keen interest in the land left an indelible mark on many people.

Gary will be missed by Pat, sons Dave, Mike and Aaron, several grandchildren and many researchers and conservationists in the Okanagan-Similkameen.