Here in Qualicum Beach, people do have an appreciation for the natural world and the importance of its preservation. This past summer we celebrated the fifth anniversary of the signing of a protective conservation covenant between the town, the Brown Property Preservation Society (BPPS) and the Land Conservancy of B.C. (TLC). For newcomers to the area, you may not be aware that these lands were originally proposed for sale as a residential development. This 50-acre forest was previously called the Brown Property and is now the Heritage Forest.
The BPPS was formed in 1996 when it was learned of the Brown family’s plans to sell the land. The society raised over two-thirds of the money through their tireless community fundraising efforts to save this forest and have it preserved as it is today. 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 today. The oldest and largest tree in the forest is about 800 years old. The balance of the forest has regrown from logging in the 1870s and 1920s.
Barred owls, great horned owls and pileated woodpeckers are old growth key indicator wildlife species which can commonly be seen and heard along with other assorted species such as bald eagles and ravens. Interpretive signage borders the easy-to-walk mulch trails that meander about and take in the natural features.
We are most fortunate to have these biologically rich lands, surrounded by residential neighbourhoods, preserved right here within the town boundary of Qualicum Beach.
It serves to remind us of what the magnificent Coastal Douglas fir forest ecosystems 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 is to be used 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. Park at the main gate along East Crescent Road near the Crown Mansion.
Brown Property Preservation Society