Salt Spring Island land conservation got a huge boost with the recent announcement by the province of forest protection of over 1300 acres of Crown lands here. Conserving the forest and plants of these areas of the globally rare Coastal Douglas-Fir ecosystem will inherently also benefit the rare species and habitats that these lands harbour.
Aside from the whopping size of the total area protected, here are related benefits:
- A key parcel (about 88 acres) adjoins the Conservancy’s new Howard Horel Nature Reserve, the Conservancy’s Andreas Vogt Nature Reserve, and Bryant Hill Park, altogether about a 300-acre connected protected area.
- Another parcel (90-100 acres) adjoins the Conservancy’s 91-acre Robert and Shauna Makaroff Nature Reserve.
- Another key parcel (about 44 acres) adjoins Cusheon Lake and includes about one-third of the shoreline.
- Two parcels (about 640 acres) adjoin Mill Farm Regional Park, the Conservancy’s first land acquisition project in the mid-1990s, with one of the parcels sharing a corner with the Conservancy’s 320-acre Alvin Indridson Nature Reserve.
- The other parcels (450 acres or more) connect with crucial protected lands in the Mt. Tuam area, including considerable areas of shoreline—an area where the Conservancy has been working with many partners since at least 2011 to carefully and collectively steward.
Hats off to staff at the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, who worked tirelessly in recent years to make this happen. Conservancy staff and consultants supported their efforts with information and encouragement and, in particular, advocated for inclusion of the parcel adjoining the Howard Horel and Andreas Vogt reserves and the parcel next to Cusheon Lake. Many other partners (Islands Trust, Islands Trust Fund, Coastal Douglas-Fir Conservation Partnership, etc.) likely played a recent role, in addition to the historic role of the South and West Conservation Partnership, CRD Regional Parks, Islands Trust Fund, Nature Conservancy Canada and The Land Conservancy of BC in protecting other significant lands in the southern part of the island. Thank you everyone who contributed to this amazing success!