Places Protected in the Islands

View a full list of all the places protected by the Islands Trust Fund.

The Islands Trust Fund on
David Otter Nature Reserve
Fairy Fen Nature Reserve
Singing Woods Nature Reserve
Inner Island Nature Reserve
Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve
Morrison Marsh Nature Reserve
Valens Brook Nature Reserve
Burren's Acres Nature Reserve
Coats Millstone Nature Reserve
Elder Cedar Nature Reserve
Laughlin Lake Nature Reserve and Conservation Covenant
Trincomali Nature Sanctuary
Vanilla Leaf Land Nature Reserve
Brigade Bay Bluffs Nature Reserve
Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve
Mt. Artaban Nature Reserve
Kwel Nature Reserve
Mt Trematon Nature Reserve
John Osland Nature Reserve
Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve
Medicine Beach Nature Sanctuary
C. Cunningham Nature Reserve and Conservation Covenant
Deep Ridge Nature Reserve
Lower Mount Erskine Nature Reserve
Ruby Alton Nature Reserve
McFadden Creek Nature Sanctuary
David Otter Nature Reserve
Fairy Fen Nature Reserve
Singing Woods Nature Reserve
McIntyre Conservation Covenant
Terminal Creek Conservation Covenants
Inner Island Nature Reserve
Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve
Morrison Marsh Nature Reserve
Valens Brook Nature Reserve
Myra Powers NAPTEP Covenant
Winter Wren Wood Conservation Covenant
Burren's Acres Nature Reserve
Coats Millstone Nature Reserve
Elder Cedar Nature Reserve
Bachmann NAPTEP Covenant
McRae NAPTEP Covenant
Reid Chapman Conservation Covenant
Barrineau NAPTEP Covenant
Cable Bay Conservation Covenant
Finlay Lake Conservation Covenant
Great Beaver Swamp Conservation Covenant
Green Frog Farm and Longini Conservation Covenants
Laughlin Lake Nature Reserve and Conservation Covenant
Retreat Island Conservation Covenant
Trincomali Nature Sanctuary
Vanilla Leaf Land Nature Reserve
Westbourne NAPTEP Covenant
Brigade Bay Bluffs Nature Reserve
Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve
Mt. Artaban Nature Reserve
Kwel Nature Reserve
Mt Trematon Nature Reserve
John Osland Nature Reserve
Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve
Medicine Beach Nature Sanctuary
Brooks Point Conservation Covenant
Cottonwood Creek Conservation Covenant
Dennis Conservation Covenant
Enchanted Forest Conservation Covenant
Garry Oak NAPTEP Covenant
Kikuchi Memorial - Frog Song Covenant
Ledingham Conservation Covenant
Nighthawk Hill NAPTEP Covenant
Oscar's Landing NAPTEP Covenant
Sharp Tailed Snake Conservation Covenant
Stanley Point Conservation Covenants
Steil's Woods NAPTEP Covenant
Woodwinds NAPTEP Covenant
Wallace Point NAPTEP Covenant
Clam Bay Farms Conservation Covenant
C. Cunningham Nature Reserve and Conservation Covenant
Deep Ridge Nature Reserve
Lower Mount Erskine Nature Reserve
Ruby Alton Nature Reserve
Arthur Lineham NAPTEP Covenant
Frog Haven NAPTEP Covenant
Keough Conservation Covenant
Leader NAPTEP Covenant
Lot 31 Conservation Covenant
Manzanita Ridge Conservation Covenant
Mt. Tuam Conservation Covenant
My Whim NAPTEP Covenant
Owl's Call NAPTEP Covenant
Polden NAPTEP Covenant
Richardson NAPTEP Covenant
Ruffed Grouse Conservation Covenants
Scott Conservation Covenant
Shacum Conservation Covenant
Tate Conservation Covenant
Vogt Conservation Covenant
Walter Bay NAPTEP Covenant
Wennanec NAPTEP Covenant
Where Ere You Walk Conservation Covenant
McFadden Creek Nature Sanctuary
Old Divide NAPTEP Covenant
Goldenback Fern Conservation Covenant
Floating Cattails Marsh and Strand-Dohan Conservation Coveants
Old Point Farm Conservation Covenant
Little D'Arcy NAPTEP Covenant
Burnt Snag Conservation Covenant
Dragonfly Pond Conservation Covenant
Kingfisher Pond and Woodpecker Pond Conservation Covenants
Sandbanks Conservation Covenant
Sunrise Conservation Covenant
Treetop Conservation Covenant
Windthrow Conservation Covenant
South Winchelsea Island Conservation Covenant
Meadow Valley Conservation Covenant
David Otter Nature Reserve
Fairy Fen Nature Reserve
Singing Woods Nature Reserve
McIntyre Conservation Covenant
Terminal Creek Conservation Covenants
Inner Island Nature Reserve
Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve
Morrison Marsh Nature Reserve
Valens Brook Nature Reserve
Myra Powers NAPTEP Covenant
Winter Wren Wood Conservation Covenant
Burren's Acres Nature Reserve
Coats Millstone Nature Reserve
Elder Cedar Nature Reserve
Bachmann NAPTEP Covenant
McRae NAPTEP Covenant
Reid Chapman Conservation Covenant
Barrineau NAPTEP Covenant
Cable Bay Conservation Covenant
Finlay Lake Conservation Covenant
Great Beaver Swamp Conservation Covenant
Green Frog Farm and Longini Conservation Covenants
Laughlin Lake Nature Reserve and Conservation Covenant
Retreat Island Conservation Covenant
Trincomali Nature Sanctuary
Vanilla Leaf Land Nature Reserve
Westbourne NAPTEP Covenant
Brigade Bay Bluffs Nature Reserve
Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve
Mt. Artaban Nature Reserve
Kwel Nature Reserve
Mt Trematon Nature Reserve
John Osland Nature Reserve
Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve
Medicine Beach Nature Sanctuary
Brooks Point Conservation Covenant
Cottonwood Creek Conservation Covenant
Dennis Conservation Covenant
Enchanted Forest Conservation Covenant
Garry Oak NAPTEP Covenant
Kikuchi Memorial - Frog Song Covenant
Ledingham Conservation Covenant
Nighthawk Hill NAPTEP Covenant
Oscar's Landing NAPTEP Covenant
Sharp Tailed Snake Conservation Covenant
Stanley Point Conservation Covenants
Steil's Woods NAPTEP Covenant
Woodwinds NAPTEP Covenant
Wallace Point NAPTEP Covenant
Clam Bay Farms Conservation Covenant
C. Cunningham Nature Reserve and Conservation Covenant
Deep Ridge Nature Reserve
Lower Mount Erskine Nature Reserve
Ruby Alton Nature Reserve
Arthur Lineham NAPTEP Covenant
Frog Haven NAPTEP Covenant
Keough Conservation Covenant
Leader NAPTEP Covenant
Lot 31 Conservation Covenant
Manzanita Ridge Conservation Covenant
Mt. Tuam Conservation Covenant
My Whim NAPTEP Covenant
Owl's Call NAPTEP Covenant
Polden NAPTEP Covenant
Richardson NAPTEP Covenant
Ruffed Grouse Conservation Covenants
Scott Conservation Covenant
Shacum Conservation Covenant
Tate Conservation Covenant
Vogt Conservation Covenant
Walter Bay NAPTEP Covenant
Wennanec NAPTEP Covenant
Where Ere You Walk Conservation Covenant
McFadden Creek Nature Sanctuary
Old Divide NAPTEP Covenant
Goldenback Fern Conservation Covenant
Floating Cattails Marsh and Strand-Dohan Conservation Coveants
Old Point Farm Conservation Covenant
Little D'Arcy NAPTEP Covenant
Burnt Snag Conservation Covenant
Dragonfly Pond Conservation Covenant
Kingfisher Pond and Woodpecker Pond Conservation Covenants
Sandbanks Conservation Covenant
Sunrise Conservation Covenant
Treetop Conservation Covenant
Windthrow Conservation Covenant
South Winchelsea Island Conservation Covenant
Meadow Valley Conservation Covenant

David Otter Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Bowen Island

The David Otter Nature Reserve was protected in 2006.  The three hectare (7.4 acre) reserve protects two creeks and a riparian forest, including a stand of 200-year old Douglas-firs.  Some of these old fir trees died over the years and now offer nesting cavities and habitat for owls, eagles, hawks and a variety of songbirds.  Maturing western hemlock and western red cedar trees can be found scattered across the reserve.

The reserve borders Crippen Regional Park and a large Crown land parcel encompassing Mount Gardner.  The protected area acts as a corridor for species to move between these two large natural areas.  Rocky outcrops, rock piles and steep slopes offer ideal reptile habitat on the upper slopes of the reserve.

The David Otter Nature Reserve holds no evidence of First Nation use or occupation.  But, because of its close proximity to Killarney Lake and Mount Gardner, there is a possibility the land may have provided a route leading to the freshwater source or a lookout on the mountain. 

Several old stumps within the reserve show us this area was logged in the early 1900s; however many old-growth Douglas-fir trees remain. 

The David Otter Nature Reserve was donated by Neil Boyd and Isabel Otter in 2006.  It's named after their son who enjoyed the area in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

The David Otter Nature Reserve is primarily a riparian area that is difficult to access without eroding the steep banks that cradle the reserve's creeks.  Human use of the reserve, even light walking, could destroy the ecosystems this reserve was created to protect.  Therefore, we ask visitors to refrain from venturing into this nature reserve and instead use nearby Crippen Park for walking and nature appreciation.

Bowen Island Municipality holds a conservation covenant on the David Otter Nature Reserve in order to provide an additional layer of protection for the property. 

The David Otter Nature Reserve is monitored annually by the Islands Trust Fund, and is also checked on a regular basis by two volunteer wardens.  Other than protecting the reserve from human disturbance and removing invasive English holly from the site, the Islands Trust Fund's management priorities for the reserve are primarily to leave the site be, letting the protected area mature into a biodiverse old-growth forest for the future.  The management plan for the David Otter Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Fairy Fen Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Bowen Island

Imagine a clearing, hidden deep in a forest of cedars and Douglas-fir, shadowed by surrounding hills.  You might only stumble across it when lifting one of the thick branches of needles that hide it from view.

One summer day, eight-year old Flora Dunster did just that, accompanying her mother who was conducting a wetland inventory of Bowen Island.  Flora floated on a bed of moss and watery earth below, charmed by the dragonflies and glistening sundews - possibly the fairies, too.  And so, on the advice of Flora, the pair celebrated the magical place by calling it Fairy Fen.

That wetland inventory of Fairy Fen revealed a Bowen Island gem - a peat-forming fen that was intact and undisturbed, something rare in the islands.  It's a fascinating place that floats between aquatic and terrestrial.  The moss-covered ground is firm enough to walk on, but poking a walking stick into the soggy earth reveals water hiding just below.  Coastal reindeer lichen, Labrador tea, bog cranberry and yellow starry feather-moss are just a sampling of the plants found at Fairy Fen.

In partnership with the BowenIsland Conservancy, the Islands Trust Fund protected an 18 hectare (44 acre) nature reserve around Fairy Fen through B.C.'s Sponsored Crown Grant program in 2010.  The reserve protects the fen, a second wetland, and the headwaters of Huszar Creek, an important watershed.

With the retreat of the last Ice Age nearly twelve thousand years ago, a glacier left behind a small lake among the hills of Bowen Island.  That lake gradually transitioned from a marsh to a fen, with a peat layer than now stands at over three meters deep. 

Also known locally as Mystery Marsh, Fairy Fen has never been owned privately.  Before transferring to the Islands Trust Fund, the fen and surrounding forest lay on Crown land.  Numerous tree stumps within Fairy Fen Nature Reserve show characteristic spring-board cuts, evidence of historical logging in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Several of the older Douglas-fir trees show evidence of fire. 

In the late 1980s, Fairy Fen was identified as a preferred site for the creation of a water reservoir to serve a proposed residential and golf course development on Bowen Island.  The proposed dams would have flooded the fen, destroying the unique ecosystem forever.  After the development project was withdrawn in the early 1990s, conservationists on the island rallied together to protect the fen.  A wetland inventory of the island in 2002 recommended the fen be permanently protected because it was one of the most undisturbed, biologically diverse fens in B.C. 

In 2005, the Bowen Island community engaged the Islands Trust Fund to apply to protect the fen as a nature reserve through the province's Sponsored Crown Grant program.  After more than a decade of lobbying, the community got its wish - Fairy Fen was permanently protected in 2010 as the Islands Trust Fund's 20th nature reserve.

The 18-hectare Fairy Fen Nature Reserve sits inside a larger block of Crown land on the island's southwest end.  The former logging roads that criss-cross through the Crown land provide access to some parts of the nature reserve.  Although these roads are commonly used by off-road bike, ATV and 4x4 enthusiasts, the Islands Trust Fund and Bowen Island Conservancy ask those using mountain bikes and motorized vehicles respect the sensitive nature of the fen and the headwaters of Huszar Creek that this reserve protects.  Please adhere to signs posted around the boundary of the nature reserve and refrain from using any wheeled vehicles inside the protected area. 

Hikers can access the nature reserve using the same former logging roads.  Please view the fen from the outskirts of the clearing.  Remember, because of the sensitive nature of the peat and the unique plants it supports, footsteps in the fen can last years and degrade the health of this unique place.  Fairy Fen was protected because it is one of the most undisturbed and pristine fens in B.C.  Please help us keep it that way.

The Islands Trust Fund enlists the help of the Bowen Island Conservancy to manage Fairy Fen Nature Reserve.  The reserve is monitored regularly by volunteers to keep track of the changing management needs of this sensitive area.

Our management priorities for Fairy Fen Nature Reserve centre on preserving the unique collection of plants and maintaining the health of the Huszar Creek headwaters that this incredibly fragile ecosystem supports.  We hope to work with the recreational off-roading community to raise awareness about the boundaries of the nature reserve and the importance of the protected area to the health of the surrounding community.  Ecological restoration will be needed in the areas already disturbed by recreational use inside the reserve. 

Also, the Islands Trust Fund will be working to ensure the fen is not over-loved - trampled by nature enthusiasts who in good faith hope to catch a glimpse of some of the very rare plants found here.  The management plan for the Fairy Fen Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Singing Woods Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Bowen Island

This 9 hectare property transferred to the Islands Trust Fund in 1999 as a requirement of development.  Big-leaf maples, Douglas-fir, western redcedar and western hemlock make up the second-growth forest on the property, while tall sword fern, salal and salmonberry form a rich, green understory.

Singing Woods Nature Reserve protects the headwaters for Davies Creek flowing east and Dorothy Creek flowing west.  A marsh and swamp regulate and clean the freshwater leaving the property, making this reserve an important piece of Bowen's freshwater supply.  The reserve, together with adjacent areas, including parks, an ecological reserve, properties protected by conservation covenants, and Crown land, comprise an important wildlife corridor between Crippen Park and Josephine Lake.

Parts of the property were logged from the early 1900s to approximately 1985.  A major fire occurred on portions of the nature reserve in about 1920.

Singing Woods Nature Reserve was originally part of a larger property, subdivided and developed by WCD Developments Ltd in the late 1990s.  After considering the concerns of the local community, the developer donated a section of the larger property with critical wildlife habitat to the Islands Trust Fund for protection.  The land donation ensured these headwaters would never be built over. 

Originally named Cates Hill Nature Reserve, the Islands Trust Fund thought the name didn't capture the sense of the place.  So we invited children on the island to help us in naming the new nature reserve.  After a visit to the reserve, students were inspired by the special place, coming up with names like "Bernie's Bog", "Frog's Bliss Nature Reserve", and "Swampy Bogwattom".  In the end, we chose the name "Singing Woods".  Singing Woods refers to the song of frogs that breed in the swamp, the dawn chorus of songbirds that nest in the forest, and the wind in the trees.

Singing Woods Nature Reserve is open to the local community for light recreational use, such as walking and nature appreciation.  To make sure the natural features of this reserve are not damaged, please stay on established trails and refrain from littering.  No camping, fires, or motorized vehicles are allowed.

Migrating and non-migrating birds and waterfowl frequently use the marsh here.  Please keep dogs on a leash to keep from disturbing the birds.

The Bowen Island Conservancy acts as the on-island management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund.

The Islands Trust Fund's primary management priority for this protected area is to steward its forest as it transitions from a second-growth forest into mature and old-growth habitat for local wildlife.  In partnership with the Conservancy we are monitoring and removing invasive species that might damage the forest ecosystem.  We are also monitoring human use of the property to protect the water quality and flow regimes of all streams and wetlands within the reserve.  The management plan for Singing Woods Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

McIntyre Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Bowen Island

Betty McIntyre owned an undeveloped forested lot that had been in her family since the early 1900s.  Before passing her property along in her will, Betty wanted to make sure her forest would remain forever.  In 1999, she enlisted the help of the Islands Trust Fund and the Bowen Island Conservancy to protect her land with a conservation covenant.  Betty had the foresight to see that future owners might want to build a home.  So Betty covenanted 1.2 hectares of the forested lot, leaving a small building envelope for the future.

With Betty gone, a home now overlooks the protected forest of cedar and maple.  The lush understory includes mosses, ferns and mushrooms.  Although the property no longer remains with her family, the forest that her family stewarded for close to a century remains.

Terminal Creek Conservation Covenants

Conservation Covenant | Bowen Island

The Terminal Creek Covenants were donated by Moon Valley Holdings Ltd. in 1999 to protect this salmon-bearing stream from any future development in the Cates Hill subdivision.  These covenants form a 1.2 hectare greenway along Terminal Creek, protecting fish habitat, a small waterfall and a riparian ecosystem which shades and supports the creek.  The covenants hold a section of the Bowen Island Trans Island Pathway, serving as an important link for local residents walking to nearby Snug Cove.

Inner Island Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Denman and Hornby Islands

The Denman Conservancy Association donated this 9.4 hectare nature reserve in 1992, making it the first nature reserve protected by the Trust Fund Board.  The reserve protects a forested lot providing critical green space buffering Pickles Road Marsh on the north and south sides. The forest of Douglas-fir, western redcedar and hemlock, and grand fir provide perches for osprey, bald eagles, great horned owl, and Cooper's hawk hunting in the marsh.  Sword fern, salal, vanilla leaf and woodland rose make a lush understory.

Two small creeks draining the marsh run through Inner Island Nature Reserve, eventually feeding Beadnell Creek - a salmon spawning stream.  The reserve is a safe wildlife corridor between the marsh and adjacent Provincial Park.

Inner Island Nature Reserve was originally part of a privately-owned tree farm.  In the 1970s, as part of a larger parcel, the land that would one day be known as Inner Island and its neighbouring wetland was donated to the Vancouver Foundation.  Recognizing the significant habitat the wetland offered migrating and resident birds, the Foundation donated the wetland portion of the larger property to the Crown, but sold the remainder forested portion of the lot to Raven Forest Products of Campbell River.  In 1992, the Denman Conservancy Association raised $70,000 to purchase back the forested lot from the forestry company.  Later that year, the Conservancy donated the lot to the Islands Trust Fund to be protected permanently as the Inner Island Nature Reserve, providing a protected buffer for the Crown-owned wetland. 

Although the wetland, now known as Pickles Road Marsh, is outside the Inner Island Nature Reserve, the Islands Trust Fund hopes to work with the Provincial government to add additional layers of protection to this diverse habitat.

Inner Island Nature Reserve is a small property whose primary purpose is to provide a green buffer for Pickles Road Marsh.  The Islands Trust Fund does not maintain trails on this nature reserve in order to best protect the sensitive nature of the marsh and the wildlife it supports. 

Pickles Road Marsh can be viewed from the bridge on Pickles Road.  For those wanting to bird watch, we ask that you help us save the surrounding forest and creeks from trampling and damage, and instead view the marsh from the road.  The wetland is home to a diversity of birds, including trumpeter swans, wood ducks and hooded mergansers.  Please keep some distance between yourself and the water's edge to prevent disturbing or scaring the migrating birds.  Please keep pets on leashes.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada holds a conservation covenant on the Inner Island Nature Reserve and the Denman Conservancy Association acts as the on-island management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund. 

The Islands Trust Fund's primary management priority for this protected area is to minimize human interference with the wetland it buffers, and steward its forest as it transitions from a younger forest into mature and old-growth habitat for local wildlife.  In partnership with the Conservancy, we're monitoring and removing invasive species that might damage the forest and wetland ecosystem.  The management plan for Inner Island Nature Reserve can be viewed here

Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Denman and Hornby Islands

More than 10 years of negotiations between the Islands Trust Fund, the Denman Island Conservancy, the Province of British Columbia and the Lindsay Dickson family cumulated in the protection of 52 hectares of forested land on Denman Island in 2001.  The Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve stretches from the sandstone shore of Lambert Channel to the shores of Graham Lake. 

Even with a rich cultural history, nearly the entire property is forested.  A grove close to the shoreline is particularly spectacular as one of the island's few remaining patches of undisturbed ancient forests.  Exceptionally large Douglas firs, western redcedars and grand firs stand tall over the ocean.  In late winter and early spring, sounds of drumming echo through the forest as a rich assortment of woodpecker species use large old-growth snags for foraging and nesting.  A nearby population of marbled murrelets, a threatened species in B.C., likely nest on the large limbs of this coastal forest.

Remnants of a native shell midden have been found and recorded on the Lindsay Dickson foreshore.  Several cedar giants with strips of bark missing from their trunks show the importance of this forest to local First Nations.  The bark carefully taken from these trees generations ago may have been used for clothing, blankets, basketry, fishing nets or ropes. 

The land which would become the Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve was first settled by John Graham in 1878.  The property was purchased as part of a large family holding early in the 20th century by Dr. Frederick Lindsay Dickson.  Some parts of the property were hand logged in the early 1900s, but most of the land was left untouched.  The reserve today is the remaining forested portion of the family holding. 

The Denman Conservancy Association lobbied for more than 10 years to preserve this forest block, raising more than $200,000.  After negotiations failed between the Conservancy and a subsequent landowner and logging operations resumed on the property, the Provincial government stepped in, arranging a purchase agreement with the owner to preserve this special place.  As part of the agreement, the land was transferred to the Islands Trust Fund to preserve as a nature reserve once the acquisition was complete in 2001.

The Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve is open to the local community for light recreational use, such as walking and nature appreciation.  Trails to the beach remain open, but please refrain from lighting fires on the beach.  Please stay on established trails to protect the many sensitive ecosystems found on the reserve.  Please keep pets under control to make sure the wildlife that find sanctuary here are not harassed. 

The Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve was protected to preserve habitat and provide a place for plants, both rare and common, to flourish for the future.  Please do not take native plants or plant material from the reserve.  Please contact our staff if you wish to collect specimens for study. 

Garbage collection and toilet facilities are not provided at the Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve.  No camping is allowed.  Please do your part to keep the reserve clean for the future.

The Denman Conservancy Association holds a conservation covenant on the Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve, and acts as the on-island management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund. 

The Islands Trust Fund's primary management priority for this protected area is to steward the areas previously disturbed by logging and the Lindsay Dickson farm as they transition into young and mature forest.  In partnership with the Conservancy, we're monitoring and removing invasive species that might damage habitat on the reserve, especially English ivy.  Young trees in a previously logged area have been protected from deer browse. We're also monitoring and managing trails on the property to make sure the ecosystem values, such as the old-growth forest, wetland, and endangered plant communities are protected from trampling and overuse.

The management plan for the Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Morrison Marsh Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Denman and Hornby Islands

After several years of behind the scenes work of the Denman Conservancy Association, Morrison Marsh Nature Reserve came to the Islands Trust Fund in 2005 as a generous donation from an anonymous donor.  The 50 hectare (125 acre) reserve protects forest, rock bluffs, the headwaters of Boyle Creek and the southern end of Denman Island's largest marsh - Morrison Marsh.  The marsh is home to more than 80 bird species; a key waterfowl over-wintering and breeding area.  Several species of special concern live on the property, including Great Blue Herons, Hutton's Vireo, Band-tailed Pigeons, and red-legged frogs.  Beaver, mink, otter and Pacific chorus frogs live there as well.

The nature reserve provides an important link between the marsh and Boyle Point Provincial Park, giving wildlife a safe corridor between this freshwater resource and the ocean.  Protecting the marsh also benefits the community as a groundwater recharge area.

With an ancient Pentlach village site nearby, Morrison Marsh was likely used by indigenous peoples for hunting of waterfowl and deer as well as the gathering and harvesting of plant materials.  The marsh was used at one time during European settlement to farm reed canarygrass.  The forests around Morrison Marsh were logged several times throughout the 1900s. 

In 1985, Ducks Unlimited Canada, in cooperation with the Provincial government and shoreline residents, installed a crest weir and outlet channel to control water levels in Morrison Marsh.  Since that time however, a beaver dam downstream of the weir has also played a part in determining the depth of the marsh.
 
In 2000, a private owner purchased the property with the intention of protecting the marsh.  After several years of behind the scenes work by the Denman Conservancy Association, the landowner chose to subdivide the property under Section 99 of the Land Title Act, creating a large parcel to be donated to the Islands Trust Fund for conservation purposes, while retaining a small portion of the property for potential future residential use.

Morrison Marsh Nature Reserve contains several old logging roads that are used by the local community for walking, bird watching and nature appreciation, and that connect with trails inside Boyle Point Provincial Park.  When visiting, please stay on established trails and pathways to keep from damaging pockets of wetlands throughout the reserve.  Please respect private property neighbouring the nature reserve. 

Mountain bikes and all-terrain vehicles damage sensitive rocky outcrop and marsh areas, and are not allowed in this nature reserve.  When canoeing or kayaking in the marsh please avoid venturing into the nature reserve or southern portion of the marsh; give waterfowl a sanctuary where they can rest, breed and raise young undisturbed.  Please keep pets under control to make sure the wildlife that find sanctuary here are not harassed.

The Denman Conservancy Association holds a conservation covenant on the Morrison Marsh Nature Reserve, and acts as the on-island management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund. 

The Islands Trust Fund is working to protect habitat known to support red- and blue-listed species, rocky outcrops, the pocket wetlands that form the headwaters of Morrison Marsh, and the marsh's shoreline by carefully diverting trails and monitoring use of the reserve.  In partnership with the Conservancy, we plan to remove invasive species that might damage habitat on the reserve such as English holly and laurel leaved daphne.

The management plan for Morrison Marsh Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Valens Brook Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Denman and Hornby Islands

Marilyn Wan and Dr. Kal Holsti donated the Valens Brook Nature Reserve in 2012.  The nearly four hectare reserve protects a portion of its namesake waterway and diverse riparian forest.  Salmon spawn here, as the creek runs through a lush, maturing forest of cedars, firs, ferns and sedges.  The riparian ecosystem supports a great diversity of species, including red-legged frog, salamanders, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons and beavers. 

For many years, Valens Brook has been part of an Urban Salmon Habitat Program and other salmon enhancement projects.  Marilyn and Kal's donation of land represent a larger effort to permanently protect the creek from its headwaters to the sea, creating a green belt for habitat to thrive and others to enjoy.

The forest structure here tells us that the land now protected as Valens Brook Nature Reserve was never logged, but was likely burned in the past 100 years.  Since then, the habitat on the reserve has rarely been disturbed.  The primarily older second growth forest has a lush understory of sword fern and salal.

Dr. Kal Holsti purchased the property in 1969 when this area of Denman was a rural wilderness.  Since then, properties have been subdivided and houses and septic fields built.  Kal and Marilyn were worried about the effect crowding, habitat destruction and increased septic leaks were having on Valens Brook and the salmon that spawn here.  In 2012, the couple subdivided their property under Section 99 of the Land Title Act, donating the natural portion of their property as a nature reserve while retaining a small portion of their property for their own personal use.

Valens Brook Nature Reserve's primary purpose is to provide a green buffer for its namesake waterway - a salmon-bearing creek.  The Islands Trust Fund does not maintain trails on this nature reserve in order to best protect the sensitive nature of the riparian habitat and the wildlife it supports.  A future management plan will explore the reserve's suitability to host light walking and nature appreciation.  Until that time, we ask visitors to refrain from venturing into this nature reserve.

The Valens Brook Nature Reserve is monitored annually by the Islands Trust Fund and is also checked regularly by caring neighbours.  The Islands Trust Fund plans to develop a management plan and priorities for this new nature reserve in 2013.

Myra Powers NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Denman and Hornby Islands

After a number of nearby lots were heavily logged, Tom Knott found himself the custodian of the last privately-owned natural space between Strachan Valley and the bluffs and Garry Oak grove near the end of the ridge, a forest corridor important to animals and plants.  Worried that future owners might not realize the importance of this forest after he was gone, Tom chose to protect the natural portion of his land with a conservation covenant.  Tom's covenant is unique in that it allows him to maintain a sustainable working relationship with the land - the covenant allows him to take small, carefully regulated amounts of firewood from within the protected area.  Meanwhile, the covenant ensures the sensitive ecosystems on Tom's land will always remain healthy for future generations of species and people.  

Tom named the covenant Myra Powers in memory of his grandmother whose enthusiasm for the natural world inspired his lifelong connection with nature.  "The biggest reward for me would be if one day, after I'm gone, my actions protecting this land provides a new generation of children a space to wonder and discover, just as she encouraged me to do."

Tom donated his covenant through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program, allowing him to reduce his annual property taxes in exchange for protecting natural habitat on his land.

Winter Wren Wood Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Denman and Hornby Islands

Winter Wren Wood protects large old Douglas-firs, marshy wetland areas, and a collection of provincially-listed at-risk plants, such as quillwort and heath.  The protected area boasts a short trail and raised walkway over the marsh.  A short bike-ride from the local school, Winter Wren Wood offers students an exciting outdoor classroom away from textbooks and chalkboards. 

The Denman Conservancy Association purchased Winter Wren Wood in 2000.  The property provides a forested buffer to Chickadee Lake, the island's largest freshwater lake.  In 2002, the Conservancy asked the Islands Trust Fund to hold a conservation covenant on Winter Wren Wood, adding a second layer of permanent protection for the property.  The Islands Trust Fund monitors the property annually and works with the Conservancy to make sure the biodiversity values of Winter Wren Wood remain for the future.

Burren's Acres Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Gabriola Island

Burren's Acres is the product of one woman's mission to heal a scarred landscape.  Margaret Taylor purchased this two hectare property to restore its ecosystems reeling from an industrial past, including diatomite drying, logging and a former car dump.  Over ten years, Margaret recruited her friends to help remove garbage and invasive species from the site.  Today, their efforts have cumulated into a precious and fragile mossy meadow where each spring camas, blue-eyed Mary, seablush and several species of orchid grow.

In 2013, Margaret donated the sanctuary she created to the Islands Trust Fund to be protected forever as a nature reserve.  She named the nature reserve Burren's Acres, a tribute to her beloved canine companion who long accompanied her on walks through the property's forest.

In the 1930s, Burren's Acres was part of Gabriola's diatomaceous earth mine.  Diatomaceous earth (diatomite), excavated from a nearby swamp, was laid to dry on the bare bedrock of what is now the nature reserve.  After the mine ceased in the early 1940s, the property was periodically logged and used as a car dump, but never built on. 

In the early 2000s, Margaret Taylor purchased the property and began a long endeavour restoring the forest and meadow habitat.  In 2013, she donated the nature reserve to the Islands Trust Fund.

Burren's Acres Nature Reserve holds a wildflower meadow over very shallow bedrock.  The meadow's moss is extremely sensitive to footsteps.  Human use of the reserve, even light walking, could destroy the ecosystem.  Therefore, we ask visitors to refrain from venturing into this nature reserve and instead use nearby Coats Marsh Regional Park for walking and nature appreciation.

The Burren's Acres Nature Reserve is monitored annually by the Islands Trust Fund and is also checked regularly by a volunteer warden.  The management plan for the Burren's Acres Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Coats Millstone Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Gabriola Island

The Coats Millstone Nature Reserve is a 0.25 hectare property encompassing part of a ridge rising above Descanso Bay.  The reserve is an old sandstone quarry.  Today, its young forest and water-filled millstone holes provide habitat for various birds and animals.

The different tiers of the ridge offer very different habitats for plants on the reserve.  The escarpment is covered in Douglas-fir, broadleaf maple and young cedars.  Mosses and lichens cover rocky outcroppings, while salal, kinnikinnick and honeysuckle blanket the forest floor.  The forest around the lower millstone pools hold red alder, small lady fern, wall lettuce, and fireweed.

The historic quarry on the Coats Millstone Nature Reserve was purchased by the Coats family from the MacDonald family in the 1920s, and remained in the family until the time it was donated to the Islands Trust Fund.  Historians on the island say the sandstone quarried from the property in the 1920s was used for the construction of Gabriola House in Vancouver, the San Francisco Mint, and repairs on the parliament buildings in Victoria.  Millstones quarried from the property in the 1930s were used in early pulp mills in B.C. and Scandinavia.  Pieces of old machinery and blasting holes drilled in the rock are visible reminders of the quarrying process.

The mossy remnants of this early industrial site were protected by Clyde Coats in 1993 when he donated the property to the Islands Trust Fund.

An unmaintained trail passing through Coats Millstone Nature Reserve offers views of Vancouver Island, Texada Island and the Coast Mountains.  However, the steep cliffs and deep millstone holes make this site very dangerous.  The millstones occupy much of the upper ledge on the site and the moss-covered ground is slippery, leaving little space for walking.  In 2004, the Islands Trust Fund closed the reserve trail because of these dangers.  Anyone venturing into the reserve should use extreme caution.

The Nanaimo Area Land Trust and Gabriola Historical Society co-hold a conservation covenant on the Coats Millstone Nature Reserve. 

The Islands Trust Fund's primary management concern is the safety of anyone visiting the Coats Millstone Nature Reserve.  The millstone ponds create a hazard as they are up to 1.3 meters deep with steep slippery sides.  Also, the millstones ponds leave little room for walkers navigating along the cliff edge.  The Islands Trust Fund has closed trail access into the reserve in the hope of reducing foot traffic on the site.  We will continue to monitor access to the property and carefully consider additional steps to address safety and liability issues.   

The management plan for Coats Millstone Nature Reserve can be viewed here

Elder Cedar Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Gabriola Island

When walking under the gnarled branches of the old cedars of this nature reserve, keep your mind open  to the possible presence of ancient spirits housed in these cedar giants.  Snuneymuxw linguist and elder Dr. Ellen White honoured this special place with a Hul'qumi'num name - S'ul-hween X'pey - meaning Elder Cedar.  Dr. White translated the name to mean more than old; it has connotations of unseen ancestors and guardians.  Spared from much of the logging that has occurred on Gabriola Island, these 65 hectares may well have guardians looking over this forest.  The property is now protected as the Elder Cedar Nature Reserve.

Elder Cedar holds some of the last remaining mature forest on Gabriola Island.  Rocky outcrops, several interconnecting streams and wetland complexes travel through the property.  The diversity of landscapes on the 65 hectare reserve provide habitat to a wide array of species, including the threatened Red-legged Frog and Western screech owl, and Townsend's big-eared bat.

Elder Cedar Nature Reserve was protected through the Sponsored Crown Grant program, with the support of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, the Gabriola Land Conservancy and local governments.

Gabriola Island has a long history of First Nation occupation and use.  The forests of Elder Cedar were likely used by aboriginal peoples because of its close proximity to the island's northern shoreline and its freshwater.  The forest lands neighbouring Elder Cedar Nature Reserve are held as Treaty settlement lands for the Snuneymuxw First Nation.  To allow the property to be protected for its ecological values, the Snuneymuxw graciously excluded what would be Elder Cedar Nature Reserve from their settlement claim.  In recognition of their generosity, the Islands Trust Fund named the reserve "S'ul-hween X'pey" at the suggestion of Snuneymuxw elders.  The translation, elder cedar, references the rich First Nations history of this area.

The property was partially logged in the early twentieth century, but several veteran Douglas firs and hemlocks survived.  Despite heavy logging of the interior forests of Gabriola Island in the late 1980s, the trees at Elder Cedar were spared. 

In 1992, the Gabriola community recognized the special features of what would be Elder Cedar, and started the long journey to protect the property.  With the help of the Gabriola Land Conservancy, the local government, and the Minister of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services, the Islands Trust Fund was successful in its application to have the property transferred from the Province's Crown land holdings through the Sponsored Crown Grant program.  After nearly 15 years, the property was protected.

The entrance to the Elder Cedar Nature Reserve is located in the "North Road Tunnel", a favourite drive for locals and visitors.  The property offers a loop trail making it a popular destination for walkers.  Please stay on the trail and refrain from using bikes, horses, or all-terrain vehicles in the reserve - added compaction of the soil can damage the sensitive root structures of old growth trees and erosion along banks of the streambeds, even during the dry season, can damage this watershed.

The Gabriola Land and Trails Trust and Nanaimo & Area Land Trust hold a conservation covenant on Elder Cedar Nature Reserve and the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust acts as the on-island management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund. 

The Islands Trust Fund's primary management priority for this protected area is to minimize trampling of the sensitive wetland complexes on the reserve, and reduce damage to the maturing and old-growth trees in the reserve.  We hope to work with the mountain biking community to raise awareness about the boundaries of the nature reserve and the importance of the protected area.  We're also working the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust to monitor and remove invasive species such as Scotch broom, holly and ivy.  The management plan for Elder Cedar Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Bachmann NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Gabriola Island

Karl Bachmann knew his land on Gabriola Island was special.  Hidden away in the mature woodland forest were boulders and sandstone deposits left from the last Ice Age.  Arbutus and Douglas-fir trees stood tall on the site, and salal, vanilla leaf and trailing blackberry created a rich, green understory.  Karl wanted to make sure this woodland would never be lost.  In 2005, he protected the natural area of his property with a conservation covenant, leaving aside a small area containing his house and gardens.  The covenant is co-held with the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust.

In 2010, Karl recruited the help of the Islands Trust Fund to revise his covenant to fit NAPTEP (the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program), giving him a 65% exemption on his annual property taxes.  Now, his land remains protected while he enjoys extra savings in exchange.

McRae NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Gabriola Island

Stanley and Maxine McRae's undeveloped property on Gabriola holds a rocky meadow where lichens, herbs and moss creep along shallow soils.  Camas, fairy-slipper orchids and shootingstar bloom in the spring, while vernal pools and seepages create a diverse home for a variety of species.  One of the McRae's favourite things about the property is the abundance of wildlife they see every time they walk through.

Stanley and Maxine wanted to make sure their property remained a safe place for wildlife, especially as Gabriola's population grows and development encroaches on the island's remaining natural areas.  So in 2010, the McRae's protected their property with a conservation covenant, permanently protecting its natural features. Leaving a small section of the property outside the covenant, the McRae's not only provided the gift of a protected area to their community, but a beautifully natural backdrop of meadow and forest for a family who might one day build a home on the property. 

The seven hectare (18 acre) covenant area was donated through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program.

Reid Chapman Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Gabriola Island

When Ruby Chapman and her brothers applied to the local government to build a guest cottage on their ocean-front property, they learned that a brackish marsh on their property that the family had always referred to simply as 'the swamp' was an extremely rare and unique ecosystem to the region.  When the family recruited the help of ecologists to investigate the values of the marsh, a treasure hunt ensued.  Camas, chocolate lilies, pacific silverweed and Arctic rush were just some of the special, and in some cases endangered, plants the family discovered.  After that, Ruby and her family were inspired to protect their 'swamp'.  

A brackish marsh is a wetland have has a mix of both fresh and salt water.  The Reid Chapman marsh is tucked between two bays on Gabriola Island, and is fed by freshwater runoff from the upland areas and a continued inflow of saltwater from the incoming tides.   In 1999, the Reid Chapman family protected the marsh permanently with a conservation covenant. 

Today, the Reid Chapman family still enjoy the property and their special swamp, watching the wildlife come and go and each season makes its mark on the landscape.  The knowledge that the unique and rare species will be protected long after they're gone is the greatest gift the covenant has given them.

Barrineau NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Galiano Island

James and Christina Barrineau protected the natural portion of their Galiano property because they wanted to preserve its unique features forever.  The Barrineau Conservation Covenant protects 1.8 hectares of maturing forest with snags and wildlife trees that will one day be home to a diversity of raptors, woodpeckers and songbirds.  The covenant protects a seasonal stream and the riparian area that supports it. 

The Barrineau Covenant is near Bodega Ridge Provincial Park and Laughlin Lake Nature Reserve, providing a safe haven for wildlife outside these larger protected areas.  Combined with another conservation covenant nearby, the Barrineau's covenant is part of an important protected area network, or wildlife corridor, along the upland forest of Trincomali Channel.

This covenant came to the Trust Fund Board through NAPTEP (the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program).

Cable Bay Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Galiano Island

Cable Bay, a 61 hectare waterfront property, and the neighbouring Pebble Beach have a rich First Nations history.  But in the 1900s, the ancient forest was logged heavily, cumulating in a complete clearcut of the land in 1978. Every piece of vegetation was bulldozed along with the top soil, and uniform rows of Douglas-fir seedlings were planted as the next crop of trees for harvest. 

This industrial cycle was broken in 1998 when the Galiano Conservancy Association recognized the potential of the site to provide connectivity in a future protected area network, and teamed up with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Province of B.C. to purchase the Cable Bay property.  The Galiano Conservancy Association protected the property as a reserve and educational site, and asked the Islands Trust Fund to hold a conservation covenant, adding a second layer of permanent protection for the property. 

Today, Cable Bay is the site of an innovative restoration project, where the Conservancy is helping the plantation shift towards a healthy mature forest that supports a diversity of species.  For more information about the Conservancy's work, please visit them here.

Finlay Lake Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Galiano Island

Finlay Lake is one of Galiano’s largest wetlands. The 6.73 hectare property property features nearly 2 hectares of shallow water wetland, and nearly five hectares of endangered riparian and upland Coastal Douglas-fir forest. The lake is man-made, created when a small dam was built at the north end of the lake in the early 1900s.

The dam at Finlay Lake created a wetland ecosystem with key habitat for a variety of plant and animal life, as well as providing water for residential purposes. The riparian area is extensive, and the lake itself holds numerous snags and woody debris. The upland Coastal Douglas-fir forest has stands of trees of multiple ages and there is abundant understory including sword ferns, salal, and stinging nettles.

The ecosystems at Finlay Lake provide significant habitat for a wide range of species. Protection of the property contributes to foraging and breeding habitat for at least 54 species of birds, including at least 14 non-waterfowl migratory species, and several provincially and federally listed species. Additionally, the habitat supports mammals, amphibian, and insect species including beaver, red-legged frog, pacific sideband snail, and blue dasher dragonfly.

A conservation covenant was placed on the property by the Galiano Conservation Association and the Land Conservancy of BC in 2001. Finlay Lake was then donated to the Galiano Conservancy Association in 2014 with the intention of maintaining and enhancing the ecological integrity as a nature reserve. Galiano Conservancy Association asked the Islands Trust Fund to hold a conservation covenant on Finlay Lake, adding an additional layer of ecological protection to the property. For more information visit Galiano Conservancy Association.

Great Beaver Swamp Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Galiano Island

Generations of beavers have come and gone, making these headwaters of Beaver Creek rise and fall.  Today, beavers have returned once again, causing Great Beaver Swamp to swell.  Red-tailed Hawk and Red Winged Blackbird perch above the swamp and Mallards visit in the winter.  Great Blue Heron can often be seen wading in the shallow waters. 

In 2003, the Galiano Conservancy Association jumped at the opportunity to purchase the Great Beaver Swamp and surrounding forest, protecting one of the island's largest wetlands forever.  The Islands Trust Fund and Habitat Acquisition Trust hold a conservation covenant on the 18 hectare reserve, adding a second layer of permanent protection for the swamp and surrounding woodland.  The property forms a central link in a protected area network the Conservancy hopes will one day span across Galiano Island.

Green Frog Farm and Longini Conservation Covenants

Conservation Covenant | Galiano Island

Rose Longini's certified organic farm and surrounding natural land are a sanctuary for the island's wildlife and migrating birds.  One naturalist described Rose's ponds as "the kidneys" of southern Galiano Island, storing and filtering upland water to the most populated area of the island.  Bald eagles wash salt water from their wings in the pond after fishing in the ocean, and give flying lessons to their young in the cedar snags that surround the wetlands.   Old-growth maples, cedars and firs stand tall over the forest, some older than 400 years old.  They shelter the more than 60 species of resident and migratory birds that visit Rose's wetlands throughout the year. 

In 2001, Rose was ready to part with the residential portion of her 32 hectare property, keeping just the farm and supporting ecosystems.  But she wanted to make sure the landscape would remain intact no matter who owned the land in the future.  As an organic farmer, Rose felt a strong sense of responsibility for the land.  So Rose enlisted the help of the Islands Trust Fund and Galiano Conservancy Association to put conservation covenants on both the farm and the proposed lot. 

The Green Frog Farm covenant allows the 25 hectare property to continue to be farmed in a sustainable way while protecting the habitat of a diversity of species.  The neighbouring 7 hectare Longini covenant allows for future owners to live on the land while making sure they respect the ecosystems that were once part of Rose's farm.  With these two covenants, Rose's dream of leaving the landscape intact forever has come true.

Laughlin Lake Nature Reserve and Conservation Covenant

Nature Reserve | Galiano Island

As the largest body of freshwater on Galiano Island, Laughlin Lake is an important resource for the residents of this island.  It stores and regulates the amount of water that leaves the island, an important service especially during the dry summer months Galiano often experiences.  The 11.5 hectare protected area is home to several at-risk species, including Red-legged frog, Blue Dasher, Western Pondhawk and Great Blue Heron.  The lake forms the headwaters of Greig Creek, the focus of a coho and chum salmon re-introduction program. 

The Laughlin Lake protected area forms the central link in a conservation network that spans across Galiano Island.  With Bodega Ridge Provincial Park to the west, and the Cable Bay Covenant nearby to the east, the Mid-Galiano Conservation Network is an important corridor for species to find sanctuary within.  The Galiano Conservancy Association leads school trips and interpretative walks through the protected area.

Laughlin Lake holds a storied past of transformation.  The lake was drained and the bed likely used for agriculture in the late 1800s.  It was not until the 1970s, presumably when beavers re-colonized the area, that standing water began to collect in the Laughlin Lake basin.  In the late 1970s, the east end of the lake was heavily disturbed by a gravel pit operation that mined to the waters edge.  In the 1990's, the lake ecosystem was further disturbed through nearby construction of a road.

When the lake property was offered for sale through a foreclosure in 2000, the Galiano Conservancy Association knew it had to act fast to protect this important habitat.  A conservation-minded individual agreed to provide an interest free loan so the Conservancy could purchase the property immediately.  The conservancy, Habitat Acquisition Trust, Environment Canada and the Islands Trust Fund then teamed up to raise the funds needed to repay the loan.  In 2003, the property was officially protected.  The Islands Trust Fund holds a conservation covenant on Laughlin Lake, adding a second layer of permanent protection for the property. 

In 2013, Ken and Linda Millard, who owned a neighbouring property, subdivided their property under Section 99 of the Land Title Act, donating a portion of their property to add to the protected area.  Their donation creates a permanently protected forested buffer for Laughlin Lake, and will one day link a foot path from Bodega Ridge Provincial Park to Cable Bay and Pebble Beach.

The Laughlin Lake protected area is open to the local community for light recreational use, such as walking and nature appreciation.  At this time, one trail is open, taking visitors from Vineyard Way to a short peninsula into Laughlin Lake.  Please respect the neighbours of this protected area by refraining from using any other trails that might travel onto private property. Please keep pets under control to make sure the wildlife that find sanctuary here are not harassed.  To protect sensitive birds and animals using the lake, please refrain from boating (including canoeing) on the lake.

The Galiano Conservancy Association manages the Laughlin Lake protected area.  The conservancy removes invasive species from the area, plants native vegetation, and has added coarse woody debris to the site to make the ecosystem more habitable for native plants and animals.  The properties are monitored annually by the conservancy and the Islands Trust Fund.

The Islands Trust Fund plans to develop a management plan and priorities for the new addition to the protected area in 2013.

Retreat Island Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Galiano Island

After living on Retreat Island for close to a decade, Robin and Jillian Ridington decided to take steps to make sure the island's natural areas remained undeveloped and pristine forever.  Retreat Island hosts a glorious Garry oak meadow, with fawn lily, death camas, chocolate lily, chickweed monkey-flower and a myriad of other wildflowers growing amidst the trees and rocky outcrops.  Mink, river otters, alligator lizards, and Rufous Hummingbirds live on and visit the property. 

Robin and Jillian protected more than half of the island in 1999 with a conservation covenant registered to the Islands Trust Fund and the Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society.  Shortly after, the Ridington's donated the covenanted portion of the island to the Galiano Conservancy Association.  Now, as a nature reserve and with the added protection of a covenant, the island is sure to remain a natural haven for a diversity of species long into the future.

Trincomali Nature Sanctuary

Nature Reserve | Galiano Island

Trincomali Nature Sanctuary begins at the water's edge with high coastal bluffs towering over Trincomali Channel.  The 12 hectare sanctuary continues on to protect a second-growth coastal Douglas-fir forest at the top of the bluffs, protecting veteran old growth giants that were spared from past logging activity.  The sanctuary as also provides a natural green buffer to a wetland on an adjoining property.

Trincomali's cliffs are a sanctuary to nesting Double-crested and Pelagic Cormorants - biologists say this protected area may be one of the most successful colonies in the Strait of Georgia.  Cormorants choose steep rock faces for their nests to protect their young from their biggest predators - Bald Eagles.  Other seabirds, such as Glaucous-winged Gulls and Pigeon Guillemots also nest on the cliffs away from the hungry beaks of eagles.

In the 1990's, the forests of Trincomali ridge were logged sporadically and the site was prepped for subdivision, which would have resulted in four new residential lots.  Realizing the imminent threat to this special habitat, TLC The Land Conservancy of British Columbia and Habitat Acquisition Trust embarked on a campaign to raise the money needed to purchase the property from the development company that owned it at the time.

The Islands Trust Fund joined the partnership in 2000 with the ability to provide an innovative new tool to the negotiations - a section 99 subdivision - allowing the property owner to easily subdivide the portion of the property with the most critical habitat and sell that land at a reduced price to the conservation agencies while retaining a portion of the lot for future use. But the partnership still had some funds to raise to finish the purchase.  In 2001, the federal government stepped forward with the final $45,000.  In 2001, the property was purchased and protected as a nature sanctuary.

Cormorants and the other rare seabirds that find sanctuary in this protected area are easily disturbed and intolerant of any kind of threat to their young, including humans.  These species are known to abandon their nests if disturbed frequently by people above and below the cliffs.  Even a kayak passing too closely or a landing sea-plane can flush the birds from their nest.  If you pass Trincomali Nature Sanctuary by water, please keep a safe distance between your boat and the cliffs and watch for any signs of stress to the birds.  If you walk in the sanctuary, please respect sections above the cliff that are closed to the public and leash your pets to avoid unexpected encounters.  With your help, we can maintain this site as one of the most successful cormorant colonies in the Strait of Georgia.

TLC The Land Conservancy of British Columbia and Habitat Acquisition Trust hold a conservation covenant on Trincomali Nature Sanctuary and Habitat Acquisition Trust manages the property on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund. 

The Islands Trust Fund's primary concern for this site is protection of the seabird colonies.  The Islands Trust Fund is working with local sea-plane operators and boaters to reduce disturbances in that part of Trincomali Channel.  We will also continue to monitor use of the property to make sure low-impact recreational use of the property doesn't have an impact on the colonies. 

With the help of Habitat Acquisition Trust, the Islands Trust Fund is removing invasive species such as Scotch broom from the sanctuary.  The management plan for Trincomali Nature Sanctuary can be viewed here.

Vanilla Leaf Land Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Galiano Island

Situated between the Great Beaver Swamp and the Galiano Conservancy Association's Learning Centre, this 40 hectare (100 acre) nature reserve bridges the gap between these two protected areas, creating a continuous protected area of more than 500 hectares known as the Mid-Galiano Conservation Network. 

Vanilla Leaf Land Nature Reserve protects the remaining portion of the Great Beaver Swamp and much of its upland forest.  Pockets of old-growth Douglas-fir and Garry oak stand on an inland bluff stretching across the property.  Below, a lush forest of red alder, Western redcedar and bigleaf maple drapes over the new protected area.  The 40 hectare reserve provides vital habitat for a variety of at-risk species, including Olive-sided Flycatcher, blue dasher, and Great Blue Heron.

With its close proximity to Vancouver, Galiano has a long history of resource extraction.  In the 1900s, Vanilla Leaf Land Nature Reserve remained part of the forestry industry's holdings, likely logged in the 1940s and 1980s.  With the departure of MacMillan Bloedel, the property was purchased by a private owner and used primarily for recreation.

The Galiano Conservancy Association had a dream to create a network of protected areas stretching across the middle of the island.  The corridor of natural land would give native species permanently protected habitat free from human pressure.  That wild space would also give residents and visitors a chance to immerse themselves in nature, with hiking and educational opportunities. 

After a long, coordinated, and awe-inspiring effort, the Conservancy achieved its dream with the protection of Vanilla Leaf Land Nature Reserve in 2013.  The nature reserve was the last piece of the puzzle, creating a swath of protected land stretching from Bodega Ridge Provincial Park in the north, to Trincomali Nature Sanctuary in the south.  The Islands Trust Fund acquired the property in partnership with the Galiano Conservancy Association (GCA) who raised a significant portion of the purchase price with the generous support of many individual donors.  The Nature Conservancy of Canada matched the funds raised by GCA with the support of the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, completing the purchase of 40 hectares of Vanilla Leaf Land Nature Reserve.

The Islands Trust Fund does not currently maintain trails on the nature reserve; a future management plan will explore the reserve's suitability to host light walking and nature appreciation.  Please respect the neighbours of this protected area by refraining from using any trails that travel onto private property.

The Galiano Conservancy Association and Nature Conservancy of Canada hold a conservation covenant on Vanilla Leaf Land Nature Reserve and the Galiano Conservancy Association acts as the on-island management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund.

The Islands Trust Fund's primary management priority for this protected area is to allow the Galiano community to enjoy the natural area through the development of a main trail, while watching closely over the Great Beaver Swamp as it matures as a wetland.  The management plan for the Vanilla Leaf Land Nature Reserve can be viewed here

Westbourne NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Galiano Island

Overlooking Montague Harbour, the maturing forest on Dr. David and June Collins' property is often bursting with the sounds of songbirds. Red huckleberry, salmonberry and oceanspray provide habitat to the chickadees, wrens and sapsuckers that dance through the forest understory.  High above, the cedar and fir trees are shadowed by the wings of Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons as they make their way between inland forests and their fishing grounds.

David and June protected the forested portion of their land with a NAPTEP covenant in 2009, ensuring future landowners will continue to be delighted by the diversity of life that appears at their doorstep.  By protecting their land, the Collinses, and any future landowners, enjoy an annual 65% exemption on their property taxes.  For more information about how you can protect your land while saving on your property taxes like the Collinses do, please visit us here.

Brigade Bay Bluffs Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Gambier Island

The Brigade Bay Bluffs Nature Reserve is a steep forested bluff, rising 240 meters above Howe Sound on the east side of Gambier Island.  The reserve protects five hectares of rocky outcrops and veteran trees saved from much of Gambier's logging past because of the steep nature of the landscape.  Red alder, bigleaf maple and western hemlock stand tall along the bluff, while western fescue, bracken fern and twinflower fill spots in the understory below. 

Red-breasted Sapsucker and Pileated Woodpecker feed in the snags along the bluff.  The rocky ridge provides a natural corridor for wildlife and the reserve links undeveloped crown land to the west with a municipal park to the east. 

Brigade Bay was once a safe haven and camp site for First Nations travelling in Howe Sound.  The area surrounding the bay, likely including the bluffs, was known among the Squamish Nation for deer hunting and plant gathering.  In the early 1900s, the forests around the bluffs were likely logged as evidenced by the cedar stumps in the outskirts of the reserve.  In 2000, the majority of the site was selectively harvested as part of a subdivision development.

Brigade Bay Bluffs Nature Reserve, along with Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve, was donated by Coastland Wood Industries to meet a subdivision development requirement for the nearby Brigade Bay development.  The donation of the bluffs and wetland was the result of extensive collaboration between the private, public and non-profit sectors, as well as the involvement of many community members.  The process that led to the donation is touted by the community as a model for community involvement and dialogue in a complex subdivision process.

Brigade Bay Bluffs Nature Reserve is open to the Brigade Bay subdivision for public use, but due to the steep terrain, has limited recreational opportunities.  Please stay away from the cliff edges - mosses and other vegetation make the terrain slippery.  To preserve the unique plants that grow along the bluffs and possible bird nesting sites, please do not use the bluffs for rock climbing.  Please stay on established trails.

The Gambier Island Conservancy and Sunshine Coast Conservation Association hold a conservation covenant on the Brigade Bay Bluffs Nature Reserve and the Conservancy manages the property on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund.  The reserve is monitored regularly by volunteers to keep track of the changing management needs of this sensitive area.

Because of the past forestry activity in and around the reserve, the Islands Trust Fund's management priority for the site is allowing natural succession of the forest to continue with little human intervention.  Where appropriate, the Islands Trust Fund, with the help of the Conservancy, may help this process along by removing invasive plant species and planting tree seedlings.  The management plan for Brigade Bay Bluffs Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Gambier Island

In 2000, heavy logging in the Brigade Bay area led to significant damage of tributaries making up the headwaters of the Long Bay watershed.  Slash blocked channels upstream and downstream of the Long Bay wetland, and silt covered fish spawning habitat downstream.  The Gambier community was devastated by the destruction. 

Together with the local community, the Gambier Island Streamkeepers approached the landowner in 2002, working out a remediation plan to restore the watershed back to its original beauty and habitat.  Contractors volunteered their time to clear away the slash and replace culverts, and residents planted thousands of cuttings and saplings to stabilize the stream banks and wetland edges.  After only three years, the wetland and tributaries were rehabilitated.  To protect the watershed from ever being damaged again, the developer donated a 38 hectare portion of the property to the Islands Trust Fund, to be preserved as the Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve. 

Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve includes not just the wetland, but upland forest and a number of tributaries flowing down from the forests to the wetland.  Frogs and salamanders breed in the wetland, and a diversity of birds forage and nest in the upland forests.  Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve joins with the Mount Artaban Nature Reserve and neighbouring local, regional and provincial parks to create a continuous protected area of 525 hectares.

Brigade Bay was once a safe haven and camp site for First Nations travelling in Howe Sound.  The area surrounding the bay, likely including the wetland and upland forests, was known among the Squamish Nation for deer hunting and plant gathering.  In the early 1900s, the forests were likely logged. 

In 2000, heavy logging in the Brigade Bay area led to significant damage of tributaries in what would one day be the Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve.  Together with the local community, the Gambier Island Streamkeepers approached the landowner in 2002, working out a remediation plan to restore the watershed back to its original beauty.  Contractors volunteered their time to clear away the slash and replace culverts, and residents planted thousands of cuttings and saplings to stabilize the stream banks and wetland edges. 

Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve, along with Brigade Bay Bluffs Nature Reserve was donated by Coastland Wood Industries to meet a subdivision development requirement for the nearby Brigade Bay development.  The donation of the wetland and bluffs was the result of extensive collaboration between the private, public and non-profit sectors, as well as the involvement of many community members.  The process that led to the donation is touted by the community as a model for community involvement and dialogue in a complex subdivision process.

Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve is the front door to an extensive foot-trail network stretching from the Brigade Bay area, over Mount Artaban, and into Halkett Bay Provincial Park.  The reserve is open to visitors enjoying light recreational activities, such as walking and nature appreciation.  To make sure the headwaters this reserve protects are not damaged, please stay on established trails and refrain from littering.  No camping, fires, hunting or motorized vehicles are allowed.

The Gambier Island Conservancy and Sunshine Coast Conservation Association hold a conservation covenant on the Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve and the Conservancy manages the property on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund.  The reserve is monitored regularly by volunteers to keep track of the changing management needs of this sensitive area.

Because of the past forestry activity in and around the reserve, the Islands Trust Fund's management priority for the site is allowing natural succession of the forest to continue with little human intervention.  Where appropriate, the Islands Trust Fund, with the help of the Conservancy, may help this process along by removing invasive plant species and planting tree seedlings.  The management plan for Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Mt. Artaban Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Gambier Island

At 107 hectares, the Mount Artaban Nature Reserve is the single largest Islands Trust Fund protected area to date.  The reserve links with neighbouring local, regional and provincial parks and protected areas, including the Brigade Bay Bluffs and Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserves, to form a continuous protected area of 525 hectares - an area 30% larger than Vancouver's Stanley Park. 

This rugged reserve protects a maturing forest including some trees near the summit that are over a century old.  The water flowing from the pristine landscape provides clean drinking water for surrounding communities and feeds aquatic habitats below.  Bald Eagles are often seen in the skies above the nature reserve, and Steller's Jays, Rufous Hummingbirds and Blue Grouse inhabit the forest.

First Nations use and occupancy of Gambier Island dates back many thousands of years.  Brigade Bay, to the north of Mount Artaban was once a safe haven and camp site for First Nations travelling in Howe Sound.  The area surrounding the bay was known among the Squamish Nation for deer hunting and plant gathering.

Mount Artaban takes its name from the nearby Anglican Camp Artaban which in turn was named after a character in Henry Van Dyke's The Story of the Other Wise Man.  The camp was established in 1923.  Archived BC Forest Service records show that the entire reserve area was burned by a human-caused fire in 1922.  Stumps with spring-board notches indicate that some of the reserve was logged pre-World War II, and tree core samples taken today show that most of the forests originated between 1938 and 1940.  A fire lookout tower was established at the summit of Mount Artaban in 1957 and was probably one of the first Forest Service fire towers to be pre-fabricated off-site and lifted to the site by helicopter.

Since before World War II, Mount Artaban has long been a popular hiking destination.  The property was held as Provincial Crown Land for many years, and was transferred in 2008 to the Islands Trust Fund through the Sponsored Crown Grant Program.  To satisfy the province's conditions for the transfer, the Islands Trust Fund partnered with the Gambier Island Conservancy to fundraise more than $40,000 to cover the costs of the property survey and a management plan. Contributions from more than 80 individuals, businesses, and community groups helped protect the mountain.

A prominent landmark in Howe Sound and visible from the Sea-to-Sky Highway, Mount Artaban has long been a popular destination for hikers.  At 614 metres (2014 feet), the summit offers spectacular views of Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains.  Visitors can hike the entire protected area network surrounding Mount Artaban by starting at the trailhead in Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve (near Brigade Bay subdivision), hiking up to the summit, and down to Camp Fircom via Halkett Bay Provincial Park.  At times, the trail is rugged and steep.  Please remain on established trails for your own safety, and to preserve the sensitive ecosystems this reserve protects. 

Camping is not permitted on Mount Artaban or within the nature reserve boundaries.  Hunting and motorized vehicles are not permitted.

The Gambier Island Conservancy and Sunshine Coast Conservation Association hold a conservation covenant on the Mount Artaban Nature Reserve and the Conservancy manages the property on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund.  The reserve is monitored regularly by volunteers looking for hazards or unacceptable activities within this sensitive area.  The Islands Trust Fund's management priority for the reserve at this time is ensuring the trail system is safe for visitors and doesn't impact the sensitive features of the reserve.  The management plan for Mount Artaban Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Kwel Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Lasqueti Island

Amelia Humphries donated her forested property in 1997 so that the people of Lasqueti could continue to appreciate the beauty and importance of nature on the site.  Much of Kwel Nature Reserve is second and third-growth forest, but two stands of 'big tree' old growth forest that escaped Lasqueti's logging past remain.  These few large old trees are a reminder of the magnificent stands that formerly occupied much of Lasqueti Island, and show us that the rest of the reserve's forests will one day mature to their former splendour.

Kwel Nature Reserve is often filled with the sounds of song and foraging birds, with Pileated Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker and Northern Flicker often sighted in the trees.  Veteran old-growth trees serve as perches for Ospreys, Bald Eagles, and Red-tailed Hawks.  Pacific yew trees grow amidst the Douglas-firs, shore pines and arbutus trees, creating a diverse mixed forest that contains at least two rare plant communities.

Kwel Nature Reserve has a storied past, serving as the site of Lasqueti's first school.  Today, the reserve continues to offer a learning experience for all ages as a continuously evolving ecosystem moving along a successional spectrum as a maturing forest.

Most of Kwel Nature Reserve was logged around 1910, and again in the early to mid-1950s.  In the early 1900s, nearby Tucker Bay was a centre of activity on Lasqueti Island, and in 1913 the first public school was built on the site of today's Kwel Nature Reserve.  Once the hub of Lasqueti shifted north to False Bay, the school house was converted to a community building, and later dismantled in the mid-1960s.  Since then, red alders and a few conifers have grown over the site where the school once stood.  The reserve shows little evidence of its former use.

In 1997, Amelia Humphries donated the entire property to the Islands Trust Fund to maintain as a reserve. Her hope was that future generations could continue to appreciate the beauty and importance of nature through the site.  Today, her legacy lives on as a permanently protected place.

Hidden inside the Kwel Nature Reserve, visitors will find exposed rock bluffs offering fine views out over Sabine Channel with its many small islets, and Texada Island in the distance.  Visitors to the reserve can enjoy low-impact recreation such as walking and nature appreciation.  Please take extra care to avoid damaging mosses and lichens on the rocky outcrops and bluffs.

Kwel Nature Reserve is closed to camping, fires and hunting.  Please help us preserve the reserve's delicate mosses and lichens by leaving your bikes at the road when visiting Kwel Nature Reserve.  Please also refrain from taking any wood products out of the reserve, as wildlife use woody debris on the forest floor for foraging and habitat.

Kwel Nature Reserve is monitored regularly to keep tabs on the management needs of the sensitive environment found here.  The Islands Trust Fund's primary objective is to allow natural ecological processes to function on the reserve with as little human interference as possible.  The management plan for Kwel Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Mt Trematon Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Lasqueti Island

The Gordon family donated this 58 hectare nature reserve in 2005 to make sure future generations could always enjoy the splendour and delight found on Lasqueti Island's highest peak.  With an elevation of 327 meters (1073 feet), Mount Trematon offers a spectacular 360 degree view of the Strait of Georgia, Quadra and Cortez Islands, Mt. Baker in Washington State, and Mt. Arrowsmith on Vancouver Island. 

Mount Trematon Nature Reserve protects undisturbed stands of old-growth forest, with majestic Douglas-firs that are up to 500 years old.  The property serves as a natural bridge between a protected ecological reserve to the south, and vast expanses of undeveloped Crown land to the north. 

The Mount Trematon summit offers a unique growing environment for a diverse range of lichen and spring-flowering plant.  Near the summit, biologists have discovered one of B.C.'s three known populations of hairy gumweed, designated as endangered in the province.

The Mount Trematon property was primarily used for logging since the time of European settlement; the last cut was in the late 1980s.  Although only 10 to 15 hectares of the original old-growth forest remains, most of the logged areas are regenerating.

Alasdair and Nancy Gordon purchased the property in the early 2000s when it unexpectedly came up for sale due to a bankruptcy.  The previous owner had plans of building on the property, but the couple and their family had a different goal.  Alasdair was in love with the wild nature of Lasqueti.  The Gordon's wanted to protect the challenge and beauty that hikers experienced ascending the summit of Mount Trematon.  In 2005, the Gordon family donated Mount Trematon to the Islands Trust Fund to preserve this wild place forever as a nature reserve.

The summit of Mount Trematon is a popular hiking destination for the Lasqueti community.  Many of the trails leading to the summit and onto adjacent Crown land are unmarked, hazardous, and should only be used by hikers with back-country experience.  Please obtain permission from landowners if accessing the reserve across private land.  Camping and fires are not permitted on the reserve and put the Lasqueti community at risk, especially during dry summer months. 

To preserve rare plants like the hairy gumweed, please stay on established trails and refrain from climbing the cliffs at the summit.

The Lasqueti Island Nature Conservancy and the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust hold a conservation covenant on the Mt. Trematon Nature Reserve.

Some sections of the reserve's forests have struggled to regenerate because feral sheep browse on the seedlings.  The Islands Trust Fund is helping restore this ecosystem by planting and caging seedlings of various tree species to protect the new trees from browsing.  Students from nearby False Bay Elementary are helping with the project.  So far, more than 200 trees have been planted and protected. 

The Islands Trust Fund is also monitoring the mountain's population of hairy gumweed to keep tabs on the changing management needs of the endangered species.  The management plan for Mount Trematon Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

John Osland Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Lasqueti Island

John Osland settled on Lasqueti Island in 1948 after serving with the US Coast Guard during the Second World War.  He found a piece of land near the base of Mount Trematon with ancient trees and green pastures that would support a quiet, simple life.  After 62 years on the island, he and his property became well-known in his community.  He lived lightly on the land and developed a great respect for the veteran old-growth firs he shared his property with.

John passed away at his homestead in 2010 at the age of 91.  In his will, he left his 64 hectare property to the Islands Trust Fund to be protected as a nature reserve.  He hoped people seeking the delights of nature would enjoy and care for it with as much love as he did.

Walking through his property, one is reminded of his legacy at the sight of some of the remnants of his life, including an old steam donkey, retaining walls at the site of his old homestead, and several apple trees that once stood at the foot of his porch.  The John Osland Nature Reserve now protects a wetland pond with several streams and seepages.  A riparian and maturing forest surround the pond, and rocky outcrops stand high over the property looking out to Mount Trematon and beyond.  The protected property is an important wildlife corridor, bridging some of the divide between undeveloped Crown land to the south and nearby protected areas Mount Trematon Nature Reserve and the Lasqueti Island Ecological Reserve. 

John Osland acquired this land and its homestead in 1948.  Despite a timber boom during the 1950s, John saved much of his forest from logging.  John lived lightly on the land, leaving only his bicycle tracks along his grassy driveway.  After 62 years of living near the base of Mount Trematon, John passed away in 2010.

With the help of his friends and a lawyer, John made a plan for his property before he passed.  He bequeathed the land in his will to the Islands Trust Fund, specifying that the land be protected as a nature reserve after he died.  The property transferred to the Islands Trust Fund in 2012, becoming our 21st nature reserve.  The Islands Trust Fund helped John's estate qualify for the Ecological Gifts Program, affording the estate income and capital gains tax benefits in exchange for his donation of land. 

John hoped that once protected, his land would give people an opportunity to immerse themselves in nature, because he felt that is what the human mind desperately needs.  The reserve is open to the community for walking and nature appreciation.  His footpaths are unmarked and at times poorly defined, so when visiting, please take extra precautions to keep your bearings to avoid getting lost or venturing onto nearby private lands.  Please stay on existing paths to avoid trampling and damaging vegetation and soils. 

Camping and fires are prohibited on the John Osland Nature Reserve to protect surrounding properties, especially during the drier summer months. 

John lived lightly on the land, disturbing very little of the ecosystems, but opportunities for ecological restoration still exist.  Several restoration projects were initiated by John's neighbours and volunteers before the property was transferred to the Islands Trust Fund to prepare the property as a nature reserve.  This included removing the homestead buildings and infilling the manmade ditches to begin restoring the natural hydrology of the land.  A restored wetland now attracts many species of birds, and native trees have been planted to help return the portion of the property that was lived on to a more natural state.  The Islands Trust Fund will continue to monitor the ecosystems as they transition from a human-influenced landscape to a thriving forest and wetland.  The management plan for John Osland Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Mayne Island

The Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve was protected by American landowners with the assistance of the American Land Conservancy in 2001.  The picturesque 0.52 hectare property protects a Douglas-fir and western redcedar forest looking out over Horton Bay.  The maturing forest provides habitat to the abundant diversity of bird species that visit the mudflats of Horton Bay.  Preserving forests upland of the sea is also important for the health of marine invertebrates and forage fish species.

Mayne Island has a rich cultural history, first settled by First Nations peoples thousands of years ago.  At least one archaeological midden site rests in Horton Bay, suggesting that this area was heavily utilized for hunting, gathering and summer camping by First Nations. 

The previous owners of Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve wished to protect the natural values of the property, with special consideration for the abundant birdlife visiting Horton Bay's mudflats.  The landowners, who were American citizens, donated the property to the American Land Conservancy in 2001 with the understanding that this organization could donate the property the Islands Trust Fund.

Although the name seems to refer to bird aviaries, the name "Bayviary" was created from segments of the previous owners' grandchildren's names and reflects the joy they felt during their time on the property and exploring the Gulf Islands.

Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve is small with no established trails or beach access.  Otters actively den in the reserve and are easily disturbed by visitors.  Therefore, we ask visitors to refrain from venturing into this nature reserve and instead visit nearby Henderson Hill Community Park for walking and nature appreciation.

The Mayne Island Conservancy Society and Habitat Acquisition Trust hold a conservation covenant on Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve and the Mayne Island Conservancy Society acts as the on-island management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund.  The reserve is monitored regularly by volunteers. 

Other than protecting the reserve from human disturbance and monitoring invasive species encroaching on the forest, the Islands Trust Fund's management priorities for the reserve are primarily to allow the protected area mature into a biodiverse old-growth forest for the future.  The management plan for the Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Medicine Beach Nature Sanctuary

Nature Reserve | Pender Islands

A sandy beach containing a significant archeological midden encloses a brackish marsh at Medicine Beach Nature Sanctuary.  Exceptionally rare in the Gulf Islands, the marsh - a mix of fresh water runoff from forested uplands and salt water from incoming tides - supports a unique collection of plants.  Great Blue Heron, Western Grebe and Belted Kingfisher are just some of the bird species visitors see in the marsh.  The site has become a sanctuary for migrating and breeding populations.  

With Medicine Beach, the wetland, and nearby bluffs protected, the sanctuary offers the community an exceptional living classroom, where visitors can learn of the ecological relationships between upland forests, marsh and tidal flow, and the importance these delicate connections have to wildlife.  The beach is a favourite among the community and visitors alike for picnics and walks along the ocean, with easy access from Old Bedwell Harbour Road.  The bluff trail offers a magnificent view to and beyond the mouth of Bedwell Harbour.

First Nations peoples have been coming to the Penders to hunt, fish and gather for more than 5,000 years.  A shell midden stretching the entire length of the beach points to the importance of Medicine Beach to Coast Salish people.   The name Medicine Beach is thought to reference the area as a medicinal herb gathering site.  It may, however, refer to the beach as a place of spiritual healing.

The upland areas surrounding Medicine Beach were logged and grazed in the early 1900s.  The property was purchased by the Atkins family in 1970 and used as a seasonal retreat until it was protected for the benefit of the Pender Islands community in 1995 as a nature sanctuary. 

The Atkins family sold the property to the Pender Islands Conservancy Association at a price significantly below market value, making the property affordable to the island-based non-profit group.  The Conservancy raised more than $500,000 for the project, with the help of several conservation agencies, including the Islands Trust Fund.  Once purchased, the Conservancy transferred the property to the Islands Trust Fund to be protected forever as a nature sanctuary.

Medicine Beach has long been enjoyed by the Pender community as a place to walk, swim, or lounge by the oceanside.  Please help us protect the sensitive plants that grow here by staying on established trails.  Please keep some distance between yourself and the any birds or waterfowl in the marsh to prevent disturbing or scaring the migrating birds.  Also, please keep pets on leashes and away from the wetland while visiting the sanctuary.

Thanks to the efforts of the Pender Island Conservancy Association, visitors can climb a set of stairs up to the top of the bluffs overlooking Medicine Beach and enjoy the view of the wetland and beach, as well as Bedwell Harbour and beyond.  Please take extra care when near the cliff edge.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada and Habitat Acquisition Trust hold a conservation covenant on Medicine Beach Nature Sanctuary and the Pender Islands Conservancy Association acts as the on-island management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund. 

The Islands Trust Fund's primary management priority for this protected area is to protect the sensitive wetland and bluff habitat from trampling and damage.  To preserve this place as a sanctuary for a diversity of bird species, the Conservancy works throughout the year to educate visitors about the importance of not disturbing the migrating and resident birds.  The Islands Trust Fund and Conservancy are also monitoring and removing invasive species that might choke out native species in the wetland.  The management plan for the Medicine Beach Nature Sanctuary can be viewed here.

Brooks Point Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

Brooks Point is a rare unspoiled coastal headland on the southeastern tip of South Pender, extending into Boundary Pass.  The Point is well known for its fields of chocolate lilies each spring.  Abundant offshore marine life gives visitors to the Point a rare treat with orca whales often seen feeding close to shore.

When the opportunity arose to protect Brooks Point, seven conservation groups, including the Islands Trust Fund, teamed up to raise the purchase price.  The groups raised enough to purchase two parcels of land encompassing the Point, and the Brooks family, keen naturalists, generously donated a third parcel to complete the new regional park.   In 2000, the Capital Regional District asked the Islands Trust Fund and Nature Conservancy of Canada to hold a conservation covenant on Brooks Point, adding a second layer of permanent protection for the property.  The Islands Trust Fund monitors the property annually and works with the District to make sure the biodiversity values of the park remain for the future.

Cottonwood Creek Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

In 2003, Barrie and Nancy Morrison covenanted their land, protecting a seasonal creek, upland forests and rocky outcrops.  The protected area includes a forested riparian wetland with black cottonwood, an uncommon tree in the southern Gulf Islands.  The property also protects sharp-tailed snake habitat, an endangered species in B.C. 

In 2005, after purchasing an adjacent lot, the Morrison's expanded their covenant to include the second property.  The Morrison's recognized that landscapes constantly change as ecosystems grow and adapt, and their long term goal is to create an everlasting oasis of natural habitat for local wildlife.  The covenant is co-held by the Islands Trust Fund and Pender Islands Conservancy Association.

Dennis Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

Rocky Mountain juniper trees are rare in the Gulf Islands, pushing the boundaries of the most western extent of their range. On a rocky Pender point, a grove of ancient junipers look out over Swanson Channel, part the beautiful view scape greeting visitors to the island as they pass by on the ferry.

In 1999, the owners of this point, Dave and Isobel Dennis, protected the shoreline portion of their property with a conservation covenant.  The covenant permanently protects the junipers as well as the habitat the shoreline provides for other species like the Pileated Woodpecker and rattlesnake plantain.

Enchanted Forest Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

Enchanted Forest is a seasonally-wet woodland that holds and absorbs groundwater for the surrounding community.  Willows and western redcedar shade the swamp below, and slough sedge, small-flowered bulrush, and salmonberry create a lush understory.  Visitors to the park can enjoy an interpretative walk through the forest, learning about the different plant species that thrive in its wet environment.  The trail ends at a scenic seasonal waterfall.

The Capital Regional District protects Enchanted Forest as a regional park.  A conservation covenant in favour of the Islands Trust Fund was placed on the property as a condition of a larger subdivision.  As a regional park with the second layer of security offered by the covenant, the forest will remain protected in perpetuity for future generations to enjoy.

Garry Oak NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

Bob and Fran Rose's love affair with their land started more than twenty years ago when they first purchased their North Pender property. Even before work started on their house, Bob and Fran worked to create a sanctuary for native species, pulling the scotch broom that had invaded the Garry oak meadow. Today, the Roses are delighted by the camas, fairy-slippers, buttercups and blue-eyed Mary that carpet the meadow where the broom once stood.

In 2011, the Roses protected the natural area on their property with a conservation covenant. As well as the meadow, the covenant protects a grove of Garry oak and a forest of veteran Douglas-firs, arbutus, bigleaf maples, and western redcedar.

"We were inspired to protect our land by other families on Pender Island who've been doing the same," said Fran. "Realizing the development pressures that exist on the island, we're reassured that by registering the covenant we are protecting the natural habitat on our property from being broken up or built on in the future."

The Roses donated the Garry Oak Conservation Covenant through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program.

Kikuchi Memorial - Frog Song Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

The Kikuchi Memorial - Frog Song Forest Covenant protects a 1.8 hectare property rich with natural habitat. Inside the covenant area sits a wetland singing with the chorus of tree frogs, and an older forest with trees over 100 years old. The protected space forms a vital link between two Parks Canada properties, providing a safe corridor for species to travel within.

The Kikuchi family protected the North Pender Island property for the benefit of future generations and in honour of their family ancestors. With a covenant, the property will remain protected forever, even after it passes from the family's hands. The Kikuchi children explore the rich undergrowth for hidden species, never having to worry if the canopy of trees over their heads will one day be lost to houses and roads.

"People can't own the land. We're only borrowing it from the future," Arthur Kikuchi says, as he points to his four children playing among the branches of a nearby cedar. "When we die, we can't take what we own with us. Therefore, our legacies are what we leave behind. I want to leave this protected place behind for my children, their children and the next generations in my community. That's what makes me most happy about the covenant."

Ledingham Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

A stroll down Clam Bay Road feels like stepping back in time.  Old trees toe in on the pavement; heavy branches arch from either side to meet in the middle, creating a green canopy overhead.  Local residents cherish the scenic features along the largely undeveloped road.  When one landowner applied to subdivide a property to create three residential lots, the Islands Trust Fund and Pender Islands Conservancy Association worked with him to ensure the rural roadside character would be maintained.   

Today, the Ledingham Conservation Covenant protects one hectare of forest buffering Clam Bay Road along the three lots.  The covenant protects the trees, some old-growth, from harvesting or pruning.  The Islands Trust Fund helped the landowner enrol in the Ecological Gifts program, providing him with tax benefits as a result of his covenant donation.

Nighthawk Hill NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

While building their home, Andy Nowak and Mary Reher stumbled across an almost perfectly camouflaged Nighthawk nesting in the bushes near their new home.  The couple took great care to give the mother space to raise her young.  Since then, the Nighthawks have returned annually, soaring along the ridge above the couple's home, greeting Andy and Mary at dusk with their wild calls.  "It's their hill - Nighthawk Hill" says Mary.  "We just happen to be here to share their home."

Andy and Mary protected the undeveloped portion of their property, a high benchland and surrounding forest, with a conservation covenant, preserving the beauty of their land forever.  Ladyslippers grow along the ridge each spring, and coralroot and indian-pipe are found on the forest floor below.  Andy and Mary took great care in choosing which parts of their land they would protect, balancing their vision of protecting ecosystems with the different ways their children may want to use the property in the future.  The couple donated the Nighthawk Hill Conservation Covenant through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program.

Oscar's Landing NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

Marilynn King protected this waterfront property on North Pender Island with a conservation covenant co-held by the Islands Trust Fund and the Pender Islands Conservancy Association. The covenant protects a lush forest of Douglas-fir and western redcedar. The forest ends on a point of land that juts into the sea, surrounded on three sides by rich eel grass beds. Seals can often be seen resting on the rocks and sandy beach below.

Marilynn named the property Oscar's Landing in memory of an orphaned river otter her daughter once rescued and raised.  Marilynn has protected four other properties on North Pender, building a legacy of protected areas on Stanley Point close to Oscar's Landing. She also made a significant donation to the Islands Trust Fund's Covenant Fund to ensure these and other protected covenants remain healthy forever.

This conservation covenant was donated through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program.

Sharp Tailed Snake Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

Sharp-tailed snakes (nicknamed affectionately by biologists as 'Sharpies') are common in California and Oregon, but found in only a few isolated locations in B.C.  Nationally endangered, and provincially rare, Sharpies are unique in that they're the 'only child' of the genus Contia (unlike garter snakes, of which there are 11 species).  In B.C., most sharp-tailed snake habitat is in the most densely populated parts of the province, making their future insecure.

A rocky knoll on Don and Teresa Williams' property was found to contain vital sharp-tailed snake habitat, and the only known winter hibernation site in Canada.  Biologists have studied the snakes on Don and Teresa's property since 1996.  Much of our understanding of this endangered species originates from this property, and the habitat provided here is thought to be essential to the survival of this species in B.C.

In 2003, the Williams' protected the Sharp-tailed Snake habitat on their property with a conservation covenant.  The covenant protects the snakes by preventing current and future owners from cutting trees, removing snags and woody debris, introducing non-native plant species or damaging the rocky outcrop where the snakes are known to hibernate.  The Provincial Sharp-tailed Snake Recovery Team assisted the Williams with the costs associated with registering their covenant.

Stanley Point Conservation Covenants

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

The Stanley Point covenants are five stunning protected areas that along with Oscar's Landing Covenant, Woodwinds Covenant, and George Hill Park, make up a local conservation network on the north end of the Pender Islands. All five properties were protected by Marilynn King. Combined, the five covenants protect 3.8 hectares of land. Old-growth Douglas-firs still stand tall over the properties despite Pender's logging history. The secluded cliffs and waterside boulders create safe sanctuaries for nesting birds and river otters. Band-tailed Pigeons, Western Screech Owls, Pileated Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers forage in the protected areas' forest and wildflowers bloom in the spring and summer on the herbaceous meadows.

All five conservation covenants are co-held by the Islands Trust Fund and Pender Islands Conservancy Association. Two of the covenants were donated through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program.

Steil's Woods NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

Sara and Richard Steil have explored and enjoyed each nook and cranny of their property on North Pender since they purchased it 15 years ago.  Their wetland hosts amphibian critters and visiting Great Blue Herons.  Wild strawberry and western trilliums fill in spaces on the forest floor between tall firs, cedars and maples.

Before moving to Pender, Sara and Richard watched as natural habitat in the communities surrounding Vancouver was lost to development.  Learning from that experience, the Steils have worked to protect Pender Island from a similar fate.  They've cared for the natural habitat on their property, and in 2009 enlisted the help of the Islands Trust Fund and Pender Islands Conservancy Association to continue that protection into the future.  The Steil's Woods Conservation Covenant prevents future owners of the property from destroying the natural features that Sara and Richard cherish.  It ensures the North Pender community will never lose this natural space to development.

Woodwinds NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

Keith and Sylvia Pincott recognize the importance of caring for wildlife habitat at home. Their property on North Pender Island acts as a haven for over 55 species of birds, with over 20 species nesting each spring. Wildflowers and ferns flourish on the mossy slopes and several veteran Garry oak and arbutus trees provide rare habitat.

With the help of the Nancy Waxler-Morrison Biodiversity Protection Fund administered by the Pender Islands Conservancy Association, the Pincott's protected a portion of their property with a conservation covenant. The covenant protects endangered plant communities found in the Pincott's forest, as well as the wildlife trees and snags where vulnerable species like the Band-tailed Pigeon and Western Screech Owl can be found.  The Pincott's donated their covenant through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program, allowing them to reduce their annual property taxes in exchange for protecting natural habitat on their land.

Wallace Point NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

Ann and Michael Philpot are avid boaters who love exploring the islands of the Salish Sea. Their Wallace Point property neighbours the sheltered waters of Peter Cove, making it a perfect home base for the Philpots as well as ideal habitat for many plant and animal species.

The Wallace Point NAPTEP Covenant protects 1.63 hectares of woodland, forest, coastal rocky bluff and herbaceous ecosystems. Surrounded by kelp beds, Wallace Point supports habitat for marine and terrestrial species including river otters, mink, and seals. Old-growth Douglas-fir trees provide nesting for Bald Eagles. Provincially blue-listed Seaside Juniper grows on the rocky bluffs of the property.

As the Philpots learned more about the sensitive ecosystems, native plant and animal species and special geological features of their property, they decided to register a conservation covenant to ensure the natural habitat would be protected. The protection of Wallace Point with a covenant provides solace to the Philpots, who know that the land they love will be preserved forever.

This conservation covenant was donated through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP).

Clam Bay Farms Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Pender Islands

Clam Bay Farms is an active 43.3-hectare farm on North Pender Island. The large property is partially Agricultural Land Reserve and includes significant forested areas. The owner applied for re-zoning on portions of the property through the Islands Trust. One of the conditions of rezoning was to protect 8.26 hectares of provincially red-listed ecosystems through a conservation covenant.

The covenant area is mature forest of Douglas-fir, Western redcedar, grand fir and bigleaf maple. The Clam Bay conservation covenant protects two veteran (500-800 year old) Douglas-fir trees. Protecting the lush forest and ancient trees on the property is a source of pride for the landowner and farm team.

The Clam Bay conservation covenant extends a network of protected places on North Pender Island. To the west is the Found Road Ocean Access managed by the Pender Islands Parks and Recreation Commission and a 30 hectare covenant held by the North Pender Island Local Trust Committee restricting tree-cutting. To the east, a one-hectare conservation covenant held by the Islands Trust Fund follows the southern side of Clam Bay Road. Connected protected areas allow forest dwelling species to move freely and safely through a variety of habitats.

C. Cunningham Nature Reserve and Conservation Covenant

Nature Reserve | Salt Spring Island

The Cunningham Nature Reserve and Conservation Covenant combined protect 22 hectares of open, park-like woodland, with a mix of old-growth Douglas-fir veterans, arbutus, Garry oak, and broad-leaf maple.  The protected areas run a steep course across the lower slopes of Mount Tuam, overlooking Satellite Channel.   The Cunningham protected areas join existing ecological and nature reserves, provincial parks, conservation covenants, and planned conservation projects to create a proposed protected area network that will one day stretch from the shores of Satellite Channel, over Mount Tuam, into Burgoyne Bay and towards Mt. Maxwell and Sansum Narrows.

The land that would one day become the Cyril Cunningham Nature Reserve was selectively logged sometime in the 1940s, but many old-growth Douglas-fir veterans remain.  Before the property was purchased by the Cunningham family, local pioneer Bo Akerman owned the property and used it as a base to access his thousand head of sheep on the range lands above.

Cyril Cunningham Nature Reserve and the corresponding nearby covenant were originally part of a larger property, subdivided into the Cape Keppel development in 1994.  The Cunningham family donated a section of the larger property as a reserve, and placed a conservation covenant on a portion of the strata lots to protect the land from any future development.

The Cunningham Nature Reserve is located in a fairly remote part of Salt Spring Island and largely inaccessible to the public.  There are no trails on the property.  Camping is prohibited on the nature reserve and we ask visitors to refrain from lighting campfires because of the extreme dry conditions on the south-facing slope of Mt. Tuam. 

The Cunningham covenant is private land and not open to the public.

The Salt Spring Island Conservancy and Habitat Acquisition Trust jointly hold a covenant on the Cyril Cunningham Nature Reserve and the covenant on the nearby property is held by the Islands Trust Fund.  The Salt Spring Island Conservancy acts as the on-island management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund. 

The Cyril Cunningham Nature Reserve and Covenant are monitored annually by the Islands Trust Fund.  With the wild nature of the protected areas, the Islands Trust Fund's management priority for the site is primarily to leave the land be, letting natural ecological processes to continue uninhibited by human disturbances.  The management plan for the Cunningham Nature reserve can be viewed here.

Deep Ridge Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Salt Spring Island

Deep Ridge Nature Reserve protects a 14 hectare strip of forested ridge above Cusheon Creek Valley.  The reserve borders the Peter Arnell Community Park, providing a natural buffer to the recreational area, and a wildlife corridor between the park and Captain Passage.  Although logged in the distant past, Deep Ridge Nature Reserve's forests are maturing into an older forest ecosystem, with older trees, standing dead trees (snags), and canopy gaps allowing a diversity of early and late successional species to grow.  The reserve's snags offer perches for birds of prey, foraging habitat for woodpeckers, and nesting habitat for several other bird species.  

Jonathon and Evelyn Oldroyd and Robert and Rosemary Trump donated the reserve to the Islands Trust Fund in 1992, with the hope that the ridge and its forest would be protected forever.

Some of the easily accessible trees in Deep Ridge Nature Reserve were logged in the late 1800s and mid 1900s. 

The land that would one day become Deep Ridge Nature Reserve was once part of a larger property.  Jonathon and Evelyn Oldroyd and Robert and Rosemary Trump purchased the property, always with the intent to subdivide the ridge and protect it as a buffer to the Peter Arnell Park.  In 1992 their dream came true.  Deep Ridge was permanently protected, creating a wildlife corridor between the park and the sea.

Like its name describes, Deep Ridge Nature Reserve protects a ridge with steep embankments that continue until the land drops down to the sea.  Human use of the reserve, even light walking, could erode and destroy the steep banks and the vegetation growing precariously on the reserve.  Therefore, we ask visitors to refrain from venturing into this nature reserve and instead use nearby Peter Arnell Park for walking and nature appreciation. 

The Province of British Columbia holds a conservation covenant on the Deep Ridge Nature Reserve in order to provide an additional layer of protection for the property. 

Deep Ridge Nature Reserve is monitored annually by the Islands Trust Fund.  The reserve acts as a natural buffer between residential properties and the Peter Arnell Park.  Therefore, the Islands Trust Fund's management priority for the reserve is primarily to leave the site be, letting the protected area mature into a biodiverse old-growth forest for the future.  The management plan for Deep Ridge Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Lower Mount Erskine Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Salt Spring Island

Dr. J.H. (Jack) Fisher protected the lower slopes of Mount Erskine by donating this property to be used as a nature reserve and park.  Rare wildflowers lie at the heart of this 22 hectare property.  Dense forests of Douglas-fir, arbutus, cedar and big-leaf maples blanket the slopes, and rare stands of manzanita, mosses and lichens can be seen on rocky outcrops.  The maturing forest offers prime habitat for a variety of ravens, raptors and woodpeckers.  

Lower Mount Erskine Nature Reserve connects to the Mount Erskine Provincial Park through the popular Jack Fisher Trail.  As the largest recreation area close to Ganges and Vesuvius, the protected areas are popular with island residents and visitors.  Fairy doors set along the trail offer exciting memories for visitors of all ages. Spectacular views reward hikers throughout the climb.

Like much of Salt Spring Island, the land that would one day become Lower Mount  Erskine Nature Reserve was logged sometime during the mid-1900s.  Adjacent to Crown land, the property was used by hikers for some time before it was protected.

Jack Fisher gifted Lower Mount Erskine Nature Reserve to the Province of British Columbia in 1976.  His wish was to see the forested lands protected as a park, with the intention that when the Islands Trust Fund was up and running, the property would be transferred to them.  In 1996, the title to the reserve was transferred and has been protected ever since.

 

The Jack Fisher Trail, starting at the foot of the Lower Mount Erskine Nature Reserve, offers an invigorating hiking experience to the summit of Mount Erskine.  The popular trail takes visitors through arbutus woodlands and hairy manzanita groves and past the magical fairy doors on its way to Mount Erskine Provincial Park.  The hike offers spectacular views over Stuart Channel, down into Maple Bay and up the channel to Penelakut Island. 

Mount Erskine sits at 410 meters above sea level making the Jack Fisher Trail steep at times.  Please use extra care when hiking through the reserve; rocks and gravel underfoot may give way, especially when descending.  Please help protect the sensitive habitat this reserve offers wildlife by leaving motorized vehicles and mountain bikes at home.  Camping and fires are not permitted on the reserve or in the neighbouring provincial park.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada and Habitat Acquisition Trust hold a conservation covenant on Lower Mount Erskine Nature Reserve, and the Salt Spring Trail and Nature Club acts as the on-island management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund. 

The Islands Trust Fund's primary management priority for this protected area is to minimize trampling of sensitive rocky outcrops, and minimize erosion along the Jack Fisher Trail, protecting endangered species that live in the woodlands from being washed downhill.  We hope to work with the recreational off-roading community to raise awareness about the boundaries of the nature reserve and the importance of the protected area.  We'll also be monitoring invasive species such as Scotch broom moving into the reserve in the hopes of catching infestations early.  The management plan for the Lower Mount Erskine Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Ruby Alton Nature Reserve

Nature Reserve | Salt Spring Island

Ruby Alton's family, the Lacy family, settled on Salt Spring Island at the start of the Depression.  Ruby grew up digging clams, fishing, raising sheep and growing vegetables on the family farm to supplement the family's income.  As an adult, she was an ardent environmentalist and had a love of gardening.

When  she died, Ruby bequeathed her property, including the house, gardens and forest, to the Islands Trust Fund.  Her gift to the community protects the lower reaches of a creek and the surrounding forest filled with big-leaf maple, Douglas-fir and western redcedar.  At low tide, rich mud flats are revealed in front of the waterfront property, with ample clam and eelgrass beds supported by the creek.  Lush vegetation along the high tide mark provides cover for the marine habitat.

The house on the Ruby Alton Nature Reserve is believed to have been built sometime in the 1930s or 40s, before the property was purchased by Mr. Alton and his first wife.  Ruby Alton, then Ruby Lacy, originally came to the property to nurse Mrs. Alton who'd become bedridden.  Ruby married Mr. Alton after his first wife's death.

Ruby herself grew up on Salt Spring Island, her family settling here at the start of the Depression.  Ruby cherished the thrifty pragmatic values that came out of the Depression and was an ardent environmentalist who recognized the importance of conserving resources and protecting habitat.  Ruby protected the Lacy property through a restrictive covenant before it was sold.  In her will, Ruby bequeathed the Alton house, gardens, pastures, and forest spanning two properties to the Islands Trust Fund and Nature Conservancy of Canada.  She envisioned her house and garden remaining a place for her neighbours and friends to continue gathering, to swap stories, lessons, hopes and dreams.

Visitors to the Ruby Alton Nature Reserve can picnic and relax on the beach overlooking Fulford Harbour.  The beach can be reached through the wooden gate on Isabella Point Road, and the walking path that travels through Ruby's old pasture.  Please keep in mind that the family caretaking Ruby's house and gardens also call this place home.  Please respect their privacy and refrain from parking in or blocking the driveway on the property.

Anyone interested in learning more about the sustainable features of the home, including the rainwater collection system and vegetative tertiary filter wastewater treatment system may book an appointment to tour the property with a staff member.  For more information, please contact Nuala Murphy.

The Ruby Alton Nature Reserve is distinct among the properties we own in that it contains a building and gardens that Ruby asked us to sustain into the future.  As a land trust with a mandate to protect rare and endangered ecosystems, this presents us with unique management challenges.  The Islands Trust Fund has been privileged to find Salt Spring Island families who've over the years lived and cared for Ruby's house and gardens.  Laughter, love and life continue to fill her home.

Ruby left an endowment that provides modest funding for the annual maintenance of the house.  Since inheriting the property, the Islands Trust Fund has also fundraised to install a rainwater collection system, a vegetative tertiary filter wastewater treatment system, and upgrade insulation in the house in order to lessen its ecological footprint.   For as long as is economically feasible, the Islands Trust Fund will continue to maintain the house, offering affordable housing for families willing to care for the property.  The management plan for the Ruby Alton Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

Arthur Lineham NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Beginning with Arthur Lineham in the early 1900s, many generations of the Lineham family have enjoyed this vacation property set along the shores of Maxwell Lake.  The lakeshore and surrounding wetlands are home to Great Blue Herons and western painted turtles.  Thick, maturing forests of Douglas-firs, big-leaf maples and Garry oaks host an assortment of native wildflowers, such as chocolate lily, nodding onion, and shooting stars.

The Lineham family have lovingly stewarded this property over the last century, taking care to leave the land as undisturbed as possible.  In 2005, Arthur's descendants enlisted the help of the Islands Trust Fund and Salt Spring Island Conservancy, placing a conservation covenant over much of the property, protecting the forests, wetlands and lakeshore for many generations to come.  The 24 hectare covenant links to neighbouring protected areas, creating a wildlife corridor stretching from the Maxwell Lake to the shores of the ocean. 

The family donated the covenant through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program, allowing them to reduce their annual property taxes in exchange for protecting natural habitat on their land.

Frog Haven NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Eileen Wttewaall and her husband bought their Salt Spring property in the late 1970s with the intention of living lightly on the land.  During their time living on their land they realized their dream; a sanctuary of nature surrounds the Wttewaall's passive solar home.  The land's rocky ridge-top is blanketed with moss and wildflowers.  Vulnerable species, such as red-legged frog and Western Screech-owl find sanctuary here.

After many years exploring the diversity and seasonal changes on the property, Eileen decided that the abundance of life that brings her so much joy needed to be permanently protected.  Eileen protected the natural portion of the property with a conservation covenant in 2008.  She named the nearly four hectare protected area Frog Haven, for the wetland on the property that comes alive each spring and summer with the sounds of breeding Pacific chorus frogs.

Eileen donated the covenant through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program, allowing her to reduce her annual property taxes in exchange for protecting natural habitat on their land.

Keough Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Sitting in a dry, upland area of Salt Spring Island, the wetland on Pat and Rosemarie Keough's property is one of the few sources of summer water for aquatic and amphibious species in the area.  The Keoughs watch Red-winged Blackbirds, Hooded Mergansers, and Virginia Rail flying among the reeds in the wetland.  Red-legged frogs and long-toed salamanders can be found breeding here in the spring.

The Keoughs are conservationists at heart.  Before 2001, part of the wetland on their property was shared with a neighbouring property.  When Pat and Rosemarie learned the neighbouring property, along with part of the wetland, was slated for development, they sprang into action and purchased the remainder of the wetland from their neighbour.  The couple then protected the entire wetland with a conservation covenant, preserving the unique habitat forever.

Leader NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Ilse Leader protected the coastal bluffs and forest on her property with a conservation covenant in 2005.  The bluffs are home to a colourful array of wildflowers, including white fawn lily, fairy-slipper orchids, blue-eyed mary, and red columbine.  Ilse's property holds one of only 16 known occurrences of Banded Cord Moss in Canada.

Ilse believes the preservation of her property compliments her small B&B business.  The covenant preserves the sensitive ecosystems thriving on 90% of her land, leaving a small excluded area where she is free to use the land without impacting the native species she shares her home with.  Ilse donated the covenant through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program, allowing her to reduce her annual property taxes in exchange for protecting natural habitat on her land.

Lot 31 Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

The Lot 31 Covenant protects 67 hectares of older forest and riparian ecosystem from ever being subdivided, logged or built upon.   The covenant came to the Islands Trust Fund as a result of the transfer of the property's development rights.  On Salt Spring Island, landowners owning properties in certain areas can take the theoretical number of lots the Official Community Plan allows their property to be subdivided into and sell those development rights to other properties in designated 'receiving ' areas.  This unique planning tool allows the community to intensify development in suitable areas on the island while preserving the most ecologically significant areas.

The landowner of Lot 31 was one of the first to apply to the local government to sell the property's development rights.  In exchange, a conservation covenant was placed on the property to signify that the land would remain natural forever.

Manzanita Ridge Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Manzanita Ridge protects the south-facing ridge of Mount Erskine, with old-growth fir groves, cliff-top shore pines, and rare arbutus/hairy manzanita plant communities.  Manzanita Ridge joins a larger network of protected areas around Mount Erskine, combined protecting more than 200 hectares of habitat.  The popular Jack Fisher Trail network travels down from Mount Erskine to Manzanita Ridge.  Hikers marvel at the dramatic rocky outcrops and magnificent viewpoints along the trail.

The Salt Spring Island Conservancy purchased Manzanita Ridge from Martin Williams in 2003.  Shortly after purchasing the property, the Conservancy asked the Islands Trust Fund to hold a conservation covenant on Manzanita Ridge, adding a second layer of permanent protection for the property.  The Islands Trust Fund monitors the property annually and works with the Conservancy to make sure the biodiversity values of Manzanita Ridge remain for the future. 

Mt. Tuam Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Mt. Tuam, and the neighbouring Mounts Bruce and Sullivan make up a mountain range stretching more than 600 meters above the waters of Satellite Channel on southern Salt Spring Island.  Mt. Tuam is a rare haven for some of the province's most at-risk species.  Yellow Montane Violet and Coastal Scouler's Catchfly dot the grassy mountainside.  Biologists have sighted Northern Pygmy-Owl, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Barn Swallow in the trees.  The Salt Spring Island Conservancy has identified a total of 24 species at risk on Mt. Tuam.

In 2013, the Salt Spring Island Conservancy and Islands Trust Fund teamed up to protect more than 13 hectares near the summit of Mt. Tuam with a conservation covenant.  The covenant prevents the private landowner or any future owners from developing inside the protected area, keeping intact the vast Garry oak meadow.  The covenant was made possible with the generous support of Environment Canada's Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk.

My Whim NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

A sports fisherman once dreamed of building trout ponds spanning two watersheds on his property, creating a personal fishing paradise.  Now, nearly 20 years later, his ponds have turned into an oasis of a different kind - wetland marshes providing breeding habitat for a variety of birds and amphibians, including the endangered red-legged frog.  The wetlands filtrate water flowing from upland neighbours, purifying the fresh water as it travels to St. Mary's Lake and McFadden Creek.  

Ling Weston purchased this property in 2007 specifically to protect this marsh oasis for future generations.  With the Islands Trust Fund, Ling protected more than 70% of the three hectare property, restricting future landowners from ever developing or filling in the wetlands.  Ling donated the covenant through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program, allowing her to reduce her annual property taxes in exchange for protecting natural habitat on her land.

Owl's Call NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Fulford Creek supports a population of coho salmon and endangered cutthroat trout.  It's the largest fish bearing stream on the southern Gulf Islands.  The Ministry of Environment designated it one of the most sensitive streams in the province, with priority placed on its conservation.

In 2005, a landowner protected a section of the creek passing through her property and its surrounding riparian area with a conservation covenant.  The covenant creates a setback from the creek where no future owners can build or disturb the ecological processes that foster healthy downstream habitat.  She donated the covenant through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program, allowing her to reduce her annual property taxes in exchange for protecting natural habitat on her land.

Polden NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Rodney and Penny Polden bought their island property, perched high overtop of Cusheon Lake, over 25 years ago, building their home and raising their children there.  The spectacular views, magical beauty of fir and arbutus groves, and rocky ridge topped with moss and wildflowers originally drew them to this property.  Throughout the summer, rarely are the skies above the Polden's home empty of turkey vultures which roost in the trees below their house and ride the up-draughts over the ridge all day long.  During their time here, they've stewarded the natural features on their property, providing habitat for a diversity of wildlife species.

The Poldens wanted the assistance of a covenant to extend their care and preservation efforts beyond their own lifetimes, even beyond the lifetimes of their daughters.  In 2007, they donated a conservation covenant through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program, allowing them to reduce their annual property taxes in exchange for permanently protecting the natural habitat on their land.  The covenant allows the Poldens to continue the life they've always lived here, taking from the land only what's necessary, while giving back to the land in all the ways they can.

Richardson NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Ann Richardson, one of the founders of the Salt Spring Island Conservancy, lived on this property for over 20 years, observing and recording many species of birds, butterflies and plants.  Spotting Lewis's Woodpecker and dun skipper butterflies on her land - both species-at-risk - Ann knew her property held important habitat.  In 2007, Ann covenanted a portion of the property, protecting the natural ecosystems beyond her lifetime.

After Ann sold her property, subsequent owners entered the covenant into the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program, allowing them and future landowners to receive an annual property tax exemption in exchange for the habitat they protect with the covenant. 

Ruffed Grouse Conservation Covenants

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

At one time, grouse were a common sight on Salt Spring Island and their mating trills could be heard in the spring.  As the human population of this island increased and natural habitat was reduced, sightings became rare.  The Ruffed Grouse Covenants protect more than 11 hectares of prime Ruffed Grouse habitat set high on a rocky ridge between St. Mary's Lake and Trincomali Channel.  The dry ridges support woodlands of arbutus and salal, with a lush forest growing along the north side.  The covenants also protect a wetland, home to endangered red-legged frogs and a likely freshwater source for grouse and other birds that visit the ridge.

Scott Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

The Scott Covenant was the first area ever protected by the Islands Trust Fund, back in 1992.  This one hectare wetland hosts an abundance of plant life and attracts numerous bird species.  The covenant offers permanent protection to a recharge zone - a key feature for the surrounding neighbourhood where ground water is filtered and stored.

Shacum Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Shacum Covenant protects four hectares of open park-like Garry oak meadow facing west over Stuart Channel.  Shacum links with Lot 31 and Manzanita Ridge covenants, and the Mount Erksine protected areas to create a protected area network of more than 200 hectares. 

The landowners who donated this covenant named it Shacum in memory of their grandfather who was a dentist in Ladysmith.  Two Coast Salish men used to affectionately call him Shequm, meaning 'to open wide', as in to open a clam or shellfish wide.  He named his boat "Shacum", and it was a name he came to be known by.

Shacum Covenant came to the Islands Trust Fund as a result of the transfer of the property's development rights to another property.  On Salt Spring Island, landowners owning properties in certain areas can take the theoretical number of lots the Official Community Plan allows their property to be subdivided into and sell those development rights to other properties in designated 'receiving ' areas. This unique planning tool allows the community to intensify development in suitable areas on the island while preserving the most ecologically significant areas. 

Tate Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

The Tate Covenant encompasses 72 hectares of diverse landscapes and ecosystems on the western slopes of Mount Tuam on southern Salt Spring Island.  Ranging from dry highlands with scattered arbutus and Garry oak, to densely forested riparian areas and scattered wetland complexes, the Tate Covenant offers a wide range of habitats for the island's wildlife.

The slopes of Mount Tuam hold a rich pioneering past, first with local First Nations using the meadows for camas and other plant gathering, followed by decades of logging and subsequent sheep grazing.  The forests and meadows of the Tate Covenant hold evidence of this history.

This covenant protects the trees on the properties, restricting future logging or trimming.  Although the original property was subdivided since the covenant was placed on the land, the covenant remains and all new landowners must uphold the vision of the original landowners. 

The Tate Covenant joins nearby Crown land, nature reserves and provincial and regional parks to form a network of natural areas spanning from the shores of Satellite Channel to Burgoyne Bay.  Visitors to this area are reminded that the Tate Covenant remains private property and is closed to the public.  Please respect the good will of these and other covenant landowners who protect natural habitat for the benefit of their community by refraining from venturing onto their land.

Vogt Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

This protected area features woodlands of Garry oak, arbutus and oceanspray standing high over the waters of Fulford Harbour.  Oda Nowrath and Cordula Vogt donated their property to the Salt Spring Island Conservancy in 2003, naming it the Andreas Vogt Nature Reserve.  Shortly after acquiring the property, the Conservancy asked the Islands Trust Fund to hold a conservation covenant on it, adding a second layer of permanent protection for the property.  The Islands Trust Fund monitors the property annually and works with the Conservancy to make sure the biodiversity values of the Andreas Vogt Nature Reserve remain for the future.

Visitors to the nature reserve are greeted with beautiful views of Mounts Maxwell, Tuam, Bruce and Sullivan, as well as vistas of the other Gulf Islands.  Small marsh wetland complexes scattered across the property provide sanctuary for a diversity of species of amphibians and birds. 

Walter Bay NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Nina Raginsky's waterfront property overlooks Walter Bay, a place known by many to act as a refuge for migrating waterfowl and a diversity of marine life. Western Grebe, Great Blue Heron, and common wood-nymph butterflies are just some of the endangered species that visit her land. Harbour porpoises sometimes venture into the bay for refuge while giving birth.

Nina donated the Walter Bay Covenant, protecting her shoreline and inland riparian area where Mawhinna Creek empties into the bay. Nina's act of protecting her land is part of a larger provincial and federal effort to protect Walter Bay, its shoreline and upland area. The neighbouring Walter Bay fish and wildlife reserve protects a shallow intertidal mud flat, a peninsula containing a wetland/salt marsh and a sparsely vegetated spit. This area provides feeding, breeding and nesting habitat for bird species. The reserve is closed to the public.

Wennanec NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Briony and Caroline Penn protected their property in the Monty Creek watershed, joining a protected area network that, thanks to other landowners in their community, protects the beautiful watershed all the way to the sea.  The creek hosts a huge diversity of flora and fauna, including species at risk like cutthroat trout and red-legged frogs.  After passing through the Penn's and neighbouring properties, the creek empties into an estuary where shellfish are abundant and sea birds overwinter.

Monty Creek was named by Briony and Caroline's great-grandfather after his son, their grandfather.  But the area and former village site near the mouth of the creek has a much older Sencoten name - Wennanec, meaning 'facing Saanich'.  Briony and Caroline honoured the original place name and Saanich people by naming their protected area Wennanec. 

Where Ere You Walk Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Biologists believe Great Blue Herons, a species at risk in B.C., abandon their nests when loud or unusual noises occur within a critical distance of one kilometer of their rookeries.   The Where Ere You Walk Covenant protects a wooded lot within that one kilometer buffer of the former McFadden Creek heron rookery on Salt Spring Island.  The trees here offer a quiet sanctuary to visiting herons.  McFadden Creek runs through the property.

This property was protected in 2002 by the landowner who was keen to see the trees and creek watershed protected for the benefit of the species that live here.

McFadden Creek Nature Sanctuary

Nature Reserve | Salt Spring Island

The McFadden Creek Nature Sanctuary on Salt Spring Island joined the Islands Trust Fund’s network of protected places in 2014.

Between 1998 and 2002, the Islands Trust Fund worked in partnership with the Wild Bird Trust of BC and the Waterbird Watch Collective to raise funds for the acquisition of the 5.09 hectare property. Originally protected in 2002, the property was transferred to the Islands Trust Fund in 2014 to be managed as a nature sanctuary in perpetuity.

The sanctuary protects a forest of western red-cedar and Douglas-fir, as well as large cottonwood, big-leaf maple and trembling aspen trees. Threespine stickleback and coastal cutthroat trout are present in McFadden Creek.

The McFadden Creek Nature Sanctuary was once home to over 130 Great Blue Heron nests and was the first Important Bird Area identified in British Columbia.  The herons abandoned the site in 2000, however with ongoing protection there is a possibility the herons could return.

Nature Sanctuaries are areas set aside for flora and fauna to thrive without human intervention.  Therefore, the McFadden Creek Nature Sanctuary is not open to public access.

The Salt Spring Island Conservancy holds a conservation covenant on McFadden Creek Nature Sanctuary, providing local oversight of the long-term stewardship of the land.

The primary management priority for McFadden Creek Nature Sanctuary is to protect the unique ecological values in perpetuity in order to support a diverse range of native plants and animals. The management plan will guide the Islands Trust Fund and the Salt Spring Island Conservancy in minimizing threats to the reserve including encroachment by non-native invasive plants, unauthorized tree cutting and over-grazing by Black-tailed Deer and Eastern Cottontail Rabbits. Additionally, disturbance will be minimized in hopes that Great Blue Herons may return to the Sanctuary for nesting. The management plan for McFadden Creek Nature Sanctuary can be viewed here.  

Old Divide NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

Larry Appleby of Salt Spring Island permanently protected his private land on Old Divide Road with a Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP) covenant in 2014.  The 0.8 hectare property features a Coastal Douglas-fir forest, a disappearing ecosystem in great need of conservation throughout the islands in the Salish Sea.

A unique feature of Mr. Appleby’s forest is that it is enclosed by a fence, which protects it from grazing deer.  Increasingly, biologists are concerned about the effects of overbrowsing by burgeoning deer populations on plants and young trees in the Gulf Islands. This already fenced area may provide an interesting study plot in the future.  The Salt Spring Island Conservancy co-holds the NAPTEP covenant with the Islands Trust Fund.

Mr. Appleby donated the covenant through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program, allowing him to reduce his annual property taxes in exchange for protecting natural habitat on his land.

Goldenback Fern Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Salt Spring Island

A Salt Spring Island resident registered this 0.3 hectare covenant on her property in the Reginald Hill area to ensure permanent protection of both its natural and cultural features.  The landowner was motivated to protect her land after it became the permanent home of First Nations burial that needed to be relocated due to development in its original location.  A reburial ceremony was held in 2011 and the owner promised to permanently protect the reburial site.  Registering a conservation covenant on the land fulfills that promise and ensures it will be undisturbed, forever.  The natural features of the land include a maturing mixed conifer and deciduous forest and rocky outcrops, where the goldenback fern grows.

Floating Cattails Marsh and Strand-Dohan Conservation Coveants

Conservation Covenant | Saturna Island

When a group of neighbouring families applied to the local government to rezone their properties, they learned that the marsh they shared was exceptionally unusual.  Dense rafts of cattails interspersed with moats of open water make this maturing fen a sanctuary for secretive marsh nesting birds such as Virginia Rails and Common Snipes.  Large dead snags standing in the wetland fen provide bird habitat for cavity nesting, hunting, perches, and most interestingly, display stations during breeding.  River otters occasionally gather food here.

The families protected the wetland spanning these two properties with the Floating Cattails Marsh Conservation Covenant and Strand-Dohan Conservation Covenant.  Their efforts show that with collaboration, conservation can span property boundaries, just like the natural ecosystems do.

Old Point Farm Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Saturna Island

As part of a rezoning process, the Old Point Farm residential development on Saturna Island donated this conservation covenant in 2004, protecting nine hectares of the development's common property.  The Old Point Farm covenant protects nearly the entire western shoreline of Boot Cove.  Douglas-firs and arbutus blanket a ridge high above the water.  A steep sandstone escarpment plunges from the forest's edge to the water below.  Unique moss species find sanctuary among the cracks and crevices of the bluffs.  Osprey have been seen circling the skies above the protected area.

Little D'Arcy NAPTEP Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Sidney and Little D’Arcy Islands

Ecologists say Little D'Arcy Island is possibly one of the most pristine and biologically diverse islands in the region.  Graduate students from the University of British Columbia have conducted intensive studies on the island because its coastal bluffs and woodland contain some of the highest levels of  species richness of all the small islands.  This rare coastal jewel can tell us much about unique island ecosystems.

Phil and Mary Middleton enlisted the help of the Islands Trust Fund to register a covenant on this island in 2006, protecting 95% of their eight hectare island.    The property has an interesting history spanning from early First Nations use to a former holding facility for Chinese immigrants afflicted with leprosy from 1907 to 1912.  Throughout that history, the ecosystems of Little D'Arcy Island remained healthy and vibrant.  Now protected, this habitat will continue to flourish long into the future. 

This covenant came to the Trust Fund Board through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program.

Burnt Snag Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Sidney and Little D’Arcy Islands

The Burnt Snag Covenant protects coastal barrier dunes, behind which lie wetlands on a coastal sand plain.  The fragile ecosystem created by the dunes provide unique habitat where saltwater meets freshwater.   Red-breasted Mergansers, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Song Sparrows are found in the sedge fens and marsh meadows of the protected area.  Howell's montia, an at-risk plant growing throughout the dune area, produces beautiful delicate flowers in the spring.

The Sidney Island conservation covenants, eight in all, protect 53 hectares of the island's most fragile ecosystems.  The creation of the covenants coincided with a subdivision of nearby land for development and sustainable forestry.  In creating the covenants, the landowners wanted to achieve balance in their community, by protecting special areas on the island while making it possible to selectively harvest the forest and build houses.  With most of the covenants along the shoreline, the protected areas ensure the natural beauty of Sidney Island - as seen from the water by sailors and kayakers - will remain forever.

Dragonfly Pond Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Sidney and Little D’Arcy Islands

These freshwater ponds, originally created for fire protection on Sidney Island, have grown into a significant habitat area for birds and amphibians. Different varieties of ducks and seabirds such as Hooded Mergansers and Great Blue Heron come to the ponds to clean saltwater off their wings.

The Sidney Island conservation covenants, eight in all, protect 53 hectares of the island's most fragile ecosystems.  The creation of the covenants coincided with a subdivision of nearby land for development and sustainable forestry.  In creating the covenants, the landowners wanted to achieve balance in their community, by protecting special areas on the island while making it possible to selectively harvest the forest and build houses.  With most of the covenants along the shoreline, the protected areas ensure the natural beauty of Sidney Island - as seen from the water by sailors and kayakers - will remain forever.

Kingfisher Pond and Woodpecker Pond Conservation Covenants

Conservation Covenant | Sidney and Little D’Arcy Islands

These two freshwater ponds provide habitat for a diversity of bird species.  Rufous Hummingbirds can be found nesting here, and Dark-eyed Junco, Greater Yellowlegs, and Violet-green Swallow are just some of the species found foraging in the reeds.  With less than 1% of the Gulf Islands landscape offering wetland habitat to birds, ponds like Kingfisher and Woodpecker on Sidney Island are invaluable for the bird populations in our region. 

The Sidney Island conservation covenants, eight in all, protect 53 hectares of the island's most fragile ecosystems.  The creation of the covenants coincided with a subdivision of nearby land for development and sustainable forestry.  In creating the covenants, the landowners wanted to achieve balance in their community, by protecting special areas on the island while making it possible to selectively harvest the forest and build houses.  With most of the covenants along the shoreline, the protected areas ensure the natural beauty of Sidney Island - as seen from the water by sailors and kayakers - will remain forever.

Sandbanks Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Sidney and Little D’Arcy Islands

Sandbanks Covenant protects a strip of spectacular coastal sand bluffs along the southwest shore of Sidney Island.  Sand bluffs are especially vulnerable to destruction and erosion from development and are one of the rarest landscapes in the Gulf Islands.  The Sidney Island landowners have made sure this beautiful feature will remain undeveloped by protecting the bluffs with a conservation covenant.  Cliff Swallows, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, and Belted Kingfisher thrive in the coastal bluffs.  The natural erosion from the sandbanks is the single major source of sand for nearby Sidney Spit.

The Sidney Island conservation covenants, eight in all, protect 53 hectares of the island's most fragile ecosystems.  The creation of the covenants coincided with a subdivision of nearby land for development and sustainable forestry.  In creating the covenants, the landowners wanted to achieve balance in their community, by protecting special areas on the island while making it possible to selectively harvest the forest and build houses.  With most of the covenants along the shoreline, the protected areas ensure the natural beauty of Sidney Island - as seen from the water by sailors and kayakers - will remain forever.

Sunrise Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Sidney and Little D’Arcy Islands

Sidney Islanders have long come to this rocky outcrop on east Sidney Island to watch the sun rise over the North Cascade Mountains.  The scenic area provides habitat for a number of uncommon plants, including desert rock purslane, slender plantain and threatened western pearlwort.  Song birds greet each day in the upland forests protected by the covenant.

The Sidney Island conservation covenants, eight in all, protect 53 hectares of the island's most fragile ecosystems.  The creation of the covenants coincided with a subdivision of nearby land for development and sustainable forestry.  In creating the covenants, the landowners wanted to achieve balance in their community, by protecting special areas on the island while making it possible to selectively harvest the forest and build houses.  With most of the covenants along the shoreline, the protected areas ensure the natural beauty of Sidney Island - as seen from the water by sailors and kayakers - will remain forever.

Treetop Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Sidney and Little D’Arcy Islands

Treetop Covenant protects a Douglas-fir and salal forest and mossy rock outcrops areas.  The property was once selectively logged during the 1940s to 1980s.  Today, its trees are maturing to support a diversity of birds moving back and forth from the forest to the sea.  The protected area shelters Howell's montia - an at-risk plant species known for its beautiful spring flowers. 

The Sidney Island conservation covenants, eight in all, protect 53 hectares of the island's most fragile ecosystems.  The creation of the covenants coincided with a subdivision of nearby land for development and sustainable forestry.  In creating the covenants, the landowners wanted to achieve balance in their community, by protecting special areas on the island while making it possible to selectively harvest the forest and build houses.  With most of the covenants along the shoreline, the protected areas ensure the natural beauty of Sidney Island - as seen from the water by sailors and kayakers - will remain forever.

Windthrow Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Sidney and Little D’Arcy Islands

In springtime, the meadows of the Windthrow Covenant are abloom in colourful wildflowers and grasses.  The 26 hectare property protects a remnant of the Garry oak meadows and woodlands that once blanketed this region.  Waves crash onto the rocky shoreline below, creating a saltwater mist over the unique landscape.  Mosses and lichens growing on the south-west facing slopes provide habitat for a diversity of native species living here. 

The Sidney Island conservation covenants, eight in all, protect 53 hectares of the island's most fragile ecosystems.  The creation of the covenants coincided with a subdivision of nearby land for development and sustainable forestry.  In creating the covenants, the landowners wanted to achieve balance in their community, by protecting special areas on the island while making it possible to selectively harvest the forest and build houses.  With most of the covenants along the shoreline, the protected areas ensure the natural beauty of Sidney Island - as seen from the water by sailors and kayakers - will remain forever.

South Winchelsea Island Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | South Winchelsea Island

South Winchelsea Island is one of 19 islands making up the Ballenas-Winchelsea Archipelago.  Because few people arrive on these islands, South Winchelsea contains a relatively undisturbed Garry oak - Arbutus  ecosystem and provides nesting and resting habitat for many sea birds, such as the Black Oystercatcher.  California and Stellar sea lions often bask in the sun on the shores of the island. 

The Ballenas-Winchelsea Islands are blanketed with mosses, lichens, and wildflowers, including a number of rare species, exceptionally vulnerable to human impacts.  The Islands Trust Fund, TLC The Land Conservancy of BC, and the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust  worked together to purchase and protect South Winchelsea Island when the once-private island became available.  TLC The Land Conservancy now owns the island, and the Islands Trust Fund and Nanaimo & Area Land Trust hold a conservation covenant on the island, adding a second layer of permanent protection for the property.  The Islands Trust Fund monitors the property annually and works with the Conservancy to make sure the biodiversity values of the island remain for the future.

Meadow Valley Conservation Covenant

Conservation Covenant | Thetis Island

Developer Ian Ralston protected the forested bluffs on northeast Thetis Island with a conservation covenant in 2005.  Although not a requirement of a subdivision, Mr. Ralston donated the covenant at the same time as he was developing the Meadow Valley Subdivision, permanently protecting the natural habitat on the development's common property.

The steep hillside holds small groves of arbutus and mature Douglas-fir.  Honeysuckle and other plants typical of the dry coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems grow there.  The covenant area also preserves a forested corridor along Pilkey Point Road, maintaining this scenic rural road.

CSS - Steil

The Steils and the Steil's Woods Covenant

After more than 50 years immersed in the hustle and bustle of the lower mainland, Sara and Richard Steil now enjoy a quieter life surrounded by natural habitat they protected with a conservation covenant.

read more

Page last updated: 10/02/16
Copyright © The Island Trust Fund.     The Islands Trust Fund is a qualified donee under the Income Tax Act. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.