The Fairyslipper Forest on Thetis Island is now permanently protected.

Fairyslipper Forest permanently protected as Thetis Island’s first publicly accessible nature reserve

Property will allow opportunities for walking and hiking through the forest

Fairyslipper Forest on Thetis Island is now permanently protected as a nature reserve.

The new 16-hectare (40 acre) nature reserve on lower Burchell Hill is the result of a partnership between the Islands Trust Fund, the Thetis Island Nature Conservancy and the Cowichan Community Land Trust, and named after the delicate calypso ‘fairyslipper’ orchids that bloom on the hill each spring.

The property is Thetis Island’s first publicly accessible nature reserve, offering residents and visitors opportunities for walking and hiking on nature trails through the forest. To maintain the natural features of the land, only low-impact and First Nations traditional use activities will be permitted.

“I am thrilled by the support we received on this campaign to create the first publicly accessible nature reserve on Thetis Island and sincerely thank each and every one of our supporters,” noted Ann Eriksson, founding board member of the Thetis Island Nature Conservancy. “This beautiful forest will be protected forever, and each gift, no matter how big or small, is a part of that conservation success story.”

For three years, Thetis Island residents and other individual supporters raised more than half the purchase amount of $560,000. Inspired by the community’s passion for conservation, the campaign received generous contributions from the Sitka Foundation ($50,000), the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Environmental Enhancement Fund ($5,000), and the Gosling Foundation ($2,500). The campaign finally reached its goal through a bequest of $210,000 from an endowment fund created by Syd Watts and Barbara Dowd, who recognized the Cowichan Community Land Trust in their will.

“The protection of Fairyslipper Forest is regionally significant,” indicated Kai Rietzel, executive director of the Cowichan Community Land Trust. “Fairyslipper Forest Nature Reserve protects a maturing stand of Coastal Douglas fir forest. These types of forests contain the highest diversity of plant species in British Columbia and typically have a high number of species in need of protection.”

“The Islands Trust Fund is proud to have partnered with the Thetis Island Nature Conservancy and the Cowichan Community Land Trust to acquire this wonderful property,” added Tony Law, Chair of the Trust Fund Board. “This purchase is a great example of a community working together to ensure the natural areas we enjoy today continue to benefit future generations.”

Fairyslipper Forest Nature Reserve is the 28th nature reserve to be protected by the Islands Trust Fund. Combined with conservation covenants, the organization protects more than 1,250 hectares (3,088 acres) of natural area on Canada’s islands in the Salish Sea. This purchase brings the total amount of land set aside for nature protection purposes on Thetis Island to 40 hectares (99 acres).

The Thetis Island Nature Conservancy was formed in 2012. Its goals are to conserve and steward natural ecosystems and promote community food security for Thetis. Volunteers and summer staff further this mission through offering general education and hands-on experiences for residents and visitors related to preserving the ecological integrity of the island for future generations.

For more, visit http://www.thetisislandnatureconservancy.org/

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop donation bin runneth over

Volunteers now working toward a reopening soon with protocols in place

Man found dead in his tent at Chemainus homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Simpson staying sharp for the baseball call

Pirates’ Chemainus player scraps initial plans for Houghton College in New York

CBIA ad campaign a business booster

Great to learn more about the people serving the community

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read