Ranching and Irrigation 

Irrigation on the southern slopes was developed to provide fodder for the ranching industry The use of irrigation for this purpose was begun in 1889 by Michael Oxarat. He emigrated from the Basque region of France coming first to Texas and then to Sun River, Montana before coming to Canada. In 1883 he erected a couple of log buildings and obtained squatters’ rights on land along what became known as Oxarat Creek, a tributary on the Frenchman River. He returned in the spring of 1884 with three hundred head of horses from Montana. The Oxarat Ranch was one of the first ranches on the south slopes of the Cypress Hills with his brand being the fleur-de-lis. He died in 1896 during his return to France because of ill health.