LETTER: Come on in; Heritage Forest trails are fine

Here in Qualicum Beach, people do have an appreciation for nature and its importance. In 2008, a protective conservation covenant was signed between the town, the Brown Property Preservation Society (BPPS) and the Land Conservancy of B.C. (TLC). Newcomers to the area may not be aware that these lands were originally proposed for sale as a residential development. This 50-acre forest, formerly the Brown Property, is now the Heritage Forest.

The BPPS was formed in 1996 after the Brown family’s plans to sell the land became known. The Society raised more than two-thirds of the money through its tireless community fundraising efforts to save this forest. The town generously contributed the remaining funds for purchase in 2004. Collectively, concerned citizens had a vision for those lands and made it a reality.

Remnant pockets of huge, 400-year-old Douglas fir trees still stand along the banks of Beach Creek. The oldest and largest tree in the forest is about 800 years old. The balance of the forest has regrown from logging in the 1910s. Barred owls and pileated woodpeckers are old-growth key indicator wildlife species often seen and heard in the forest. Interpretive signage borders the easy-to-walk mulch trails that take in the natural features.

We are most fortunate to have these biologically rich lands preserved in Qualicum Beach. It serves to remind us of what the magnificent coastal Douglas fir forests were once like. Very little of this forest type has been preserved in Coastal B.C. Yet locally, we have this unique green space for present and future generations to enjoy. This is your forest and it is for the appreciation and enjoyment of nature in perpetuity. Because of you, this forest still stands! If you haven’t done so lately, go walk the trails.

Tom Whitfield

Brown Property Preservation Society

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