Faces & Places: Dave White

Dave White has been a force in the conservation world for over three decades now, and shows no signs of slowing down.

A keen angler, backcountry horseman and hunter who operates a trapline near his home in Canal Flats, Dave began his career as a wildlife champion in the early ‘80s, when he helped found the Canal Flats Wilderness Club of which he is still the president today. From the 1980s onwards, he’s been involved with the East Kootenay Wildlife Association as president, vice-president, past-president and director, the latter being a position he still holds. His longevity in conservation is also reflected in his ongoing participation as one of the founding directors of the Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund (1981-2004 and 2013-present); and with the BC Wildlife Federation, a group he’s been president, vice-president and past-president of since 1987, and he remains active on the Past Presidents’ Advisory Council.

Dave has also been the director of the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and is currently a representative on the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program Board of Directors and the KCP Executive Committee.

He has focused much effort on the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. Due to conservation efforts largely spearheaded by Dave over the past 30-plus years, sheep herds in the East Kootenay have flourished in the face of significant adversity such as road construction, and urban and recreational development, which have forced them away from their prime habitat, interrupted migration routes, and split larger herds into smaller ones.

Through the Canal Flats Wilderness Club, Dave and his wife Jill have not only successfully maintained local populations of bighorn sheep, but enabled them to thrive to allow for the relocation of approximately 250 from the East Kootenay to other regions in B.C. and the United States to help replenish their populations. Dave is also the chair of the East Kootenay Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Committee, which is working with the Domestic Wild Sheep Separation Program to reduce the occurrences in which wild sheep come into contact with domestic sheep and fall susceptible to their diseases and parasites.

As a result of his efforts, the East Kootenay Wildlife Association was awarded the BC Wildlife Federation Award for Best Conservation Project in 2001. This was a 5-year $500,000 Bighorn Sheep habitat and population assessment project which has since been used as a prescription and assessment tool by the BC Fish and Wildlife Branch.

Click here for the summary report titled the 2007 Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Habitat and Population Assessment for the East Kootenay Trench.

Dave’s invaluable contribution to conservation in B.C. was recently recognized by the BC Wildlife Federation, which presented him with the Ted Barsby Trophy for Conservationist of the Year at the 2017 BCWF Annual General Meeting & Convention held in May.

For a summary of BC’s Wild/Domestic Sheep Separation Program, click here.