Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

McTaggart-Cowan/Ns?k'lniw't Wildlife Management Area

About This Wildlife Management Area

Date Designated: March 19, 2013

Purpose: Management of all habitat types required for California Bighorn Sheep.

Size: 6,491 hectares

Region: Thompson/Okanagan

Location and Maps

Southeast of Penticton and east of Skaha Lake

Nature and Culture


This WMA has regionally significant habitat values for wildlife, and its name honours long-time conservationist Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan and the Penticton Indian Band. (The word, nsək'łniw't, is roughly translated from the Syilx language as “a gash on the side” and refers to a trail that was used by First Nations for travel, trade, and access to medicine-gathering areas.) It contains a large area of contiguous, generally non-roaded habitat, which includes lambing areas, escape terrain, and winter and spring foraging areas for California Bighorn Sheep. The WMA also provides winter habitat for Mule Deer, Elk, and Mountain Goat. Predators, such as Cougar and Coyote, are fairly common because of the year-round presence of these ungulates. One can also find habitat for smaller wildlife species such as raptors, songbirds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Physiography, Climate and Vegetation

The area ranges in elevation from 700 metres to 1,260 metres and is within very dry biogeoclimatic zones. The topography is characterized by rock outcrops, steep cliffs, and grasslands. There are also Douglas-fir and Ponderosa pine forests at the lower elevations, Lodgepole pine and Larch forests in the upper elevations, and a mixture of Cottonwood and Water Birch stands within the riparian areas. Two conservation properties that are owned by The Nature Trust of British Columbia have been incorporated into the WMA.

Management Planning

Information on management direction is available from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations regional office.