The Nature Trust of British Columbia has received a donation of land worth $5 million.
The 29 hectare property is near Top Bridge Regional Park west of Parksville along the Englishman River and was owned by Emil Anderson Group.
“The property was purchased by my late father in 1960 for our company Emil Anderson Construction and it was purchased for the gravel resource on the very south end of the property,” said Chairman Mike Jacobs.
After decades of extracting gravel from the property for major road construction projects like sections of the Inland Island Highway, the owners put aside other development options and logging prospects to donate the land to Nature Trust of B.C.
“It’s amazing land and to know that it’s going to stay this way forever is a great thing,” added Jacobs. “If something makes sense, you have to do it. Keeping a significant portion of our floodplain and hillside land near the Englishman River in a natural state has been a goal of mine and my family’s for many years. It is proof that resource extraction, land development, and habitat preservation can be balanced through thoughtful land use planning.”
The Nature Trust of B.C. has been working to protect the Englishman River.
The Englishman River- Kw’a’luxw – Emil Anderson Legacy Forest will be added to the Englishman River- Kw’a’luxw Conservation Complex – this means the property will be protected from development and will never be sold.
“This is a huge, historic deal for conservation on Vancouver Island,” said Nature Trust of B.C.’s CEO Jasper Lament. “We’re standing at Top Bridge which was actually the very first property that the Nature Trust of B.C. acquired back in 1978.”
The latest donation brings the total land along the Englishman River acquired by the Nature Trust of B.C. to over 260 hectares.
“What is really remarkable about the river is the biodiversity that is on full display and the way all the species interact. The salmon spawn in the streams, the bears feed on the salmon and drag the remains into the forest, the forest is fertilized by the salmon and the forest strengthens the shores of the streams. It’s all right here,” said Lament.
To support the long-term conservation of this property, The Nature Trust has entered into a Stewardship and Management Agreement with the Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation.
This agreement recognizes Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation as a rights holder to manage their lands and resources, protect the cultural and ecological values of traditional lands, and improve stewardship of our forests with ecosystem-based land use planning.
“Snaw-Naw-As is looking forward to working alongside The Nature Trust to ensure the health of estuaries and everything connected to those systems,” Chris Bob, Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation Council Member, said.
“Our natural resources have always been a priority for First Nations since time immemorial. Building meaningful relationships to protect wildlife for future generations to enjoy and respect is the goal.”