The proposed Salish View nature reserve would present visitors with 270-degree views of the Salish Sea from high atop Lasqueti Island. — Photo submitted by Island Trust Fund

Funding sought for Lasqueti nature reserve

Proposed 28-acre park would preserve old-growth, Salish views

A joint fundraising campaign is underway to protect a 11.6 hectare (28 acre) property on Lasqueti Island featuring mature coastal Douglas-fir forest and rugged cliffs. The Islands Trust Fund and the Lasqueti Island Nature Conservancy are partnering to raise $250,000 by Dec. 21, 2018, to create a new nature reserve directly adjacent to Squitty Bay Provincial Park.

Salish View rises above Lasqueti’s rocky southern coastline to a prominent ridgetop with a 270-degree vista of the Salish Sea. Visitors have described the summit view as one of the best marine views on the West Coast, according to a written release from the Islands Trust Fund.

Once protected, the property will be open to the public, offering residents and visitors opportunities for walking on nature trails through beautiful old-growth trees and rocky bluffs to the viewpoint.

The proposed Salish View Nature Reserve will protect habitat for species at risk and an important part of the watershed of Wamer Creek – one of only three salmon-bearing streams on Lasqueti Island, state the release.

“The Islands Trust Fund is proud to partner with the Lasqueti Island Nature Conservancy to acquire this significant property,” said Tony Law, chair of the Trust Fund Board. “Protecting the Salish View property means the existing protected area at Squitty Bay will extend from shore to the ridgetop, encompassing a diversity of habitats and microclimates, supporting the resiliency of species and ecosystems in light of a changing climate.”

The fundraising campaign has already received a significant amount of community support and almost 40 per cent of the funds are in place. With seven months left in the campaign, the partners need to raise an additional $155,000. The negotiated purchase price for the property is below market value, the fundraising partners said in the release, a contribution made by the current landholders through the Ecological Gifts Program.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Lasqueti Island, and for the whole Salish Sea region,” said Gordon Scott, president of the Lasqueti Island Nature Conservancy. “We are almost halfway to our final fundraising goal to protect this special place forever. Every donation makes a difference now.”

Donations for the Salish View campaign can be made to the Islands Trust Fund’s Lasqueti Island Acquisition Fund and the Lasqueti Island Nature Conservancy’s CanadaHelps page. Tax receipts will be issued for gifts more than $20.

The Islands Trust Fund is the conservation land trust for Canada’s islands in the Salish Sea. Since 1990, the Islands Trust Fund has protected more than 1,270 hectares of natural island ecosystems. To learn more or to donate, visit www.islandstrustfund.bc.ca.

— NEWS staff and Island Trust Fund release

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