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More than 300 hectares of land secured to conserve old growth

Press Release

June 28, 2024

VICTORIA – At-risk wildlife and critical old-growth habitat will be protected at eight different sites through the Old Growth Nature Fund.

“People who live in B.C. share a deep connection to our forests. We are working with our partners to protect old-growth trees for our children and grandchildren, and to conserve important wildlife habitat,” said Nathan Cullen, B.C.’s Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “By conserving these areas of natural beauty, we are protecting important refuges for at-risk wildlife, supporting species like the northern red-legged frog, great blue heron and wolverine.”

The B.C. government, the federal government and seven land trust and conservancy organizations have worked together to secure critical old growth and habitat for species at risk at eight different sites. About $7.9 million from the Old Growth Nature Fund, along with $8.2 million contributed by private donors and organizations, were used to purchase privately owned lands.

Through the Old Growth Nature Fund, Environment and Climate Change Canada is providing financial support of $50 million to the Province over three years to protect old-growth forest areas in B.C.

“The Government of Canada is taking real action to protect more of B.C.’s cherished natural landscapes and the rich biodiversity of species who live within them,” said Steven Guilbeault, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “Through the Old Growth Nature Fund, we are supporting the protection of more old-growth forests, which helps the recovery of species at risk and helps keep carbon-rich ecosystems intact. These newly protected areas throughout the province contribute to Canada’s goal of protecting 30% of land and water by 2030 and reversing biodiversity loss.”

The eight sites total 316 hectares and are highly biodiverse old-growth forests that support species at risk and other wildlife, such as cutthroat trout, band-tailed pigeons and horned grebes. Many of these sites are in relatively densely populated areas of the province, making them even more important wildlife refuges.

The following locations were selected based on recommendations that land trusts and land conservancies throughout British Columbia submitted for consideration:

Kwiakah, Phillips Arm (Central Coast); 75 hectares; Nature Conservancy of Canada; $573,461 (total cost: $1,274,359)
Crescent Spur (McBride area); 76.9 hectares; Nature Trust of B.C.; $370,175 (total cost: $840,350)
Bear Hill (Saanich); 2.2 hectares; Habitat Acquisition Trust; $72,897 (total cost: $2,542,617)
East Sooke; 68.5 hectares; BC Parks Foundation; $1,568,920 (total cost: $5,460,000)
Talking Trees Nature Reserve (Galiano Island); 42 hectares; Galiano Conservancy Association; $1,773,000
Puntledge River (Comox Valley) timber harvesting rights; about 32 hectares; Comox Valley Land Trust; $2,000,000
Osprey Ridge Nature Reserve (Pender Island); 4.1 hectares; Pender Islands Conservancy Association; $620,800
Vulture Ridge Nature Reserve (Pender Island); 14.6 hectares; Pender Islands Conservancy Association; $936,850 (total cost: $1,336,850)

To date, the Province has allocated approximately $31 million from the Old Growth Nature Fund to help protect old growth areas from harvesting or development, directly supporting the implementation of the Old Growth Strategic Review.

Quick Facts:

The Old Growth Nature Fund agreement was signed in 2023 by Environment and Climate Change Canada and the B.C. government.
The fund supports multiple approaches to protecting old growth in B.C.:
conserving areas of old growth on public lands;
securing (e.g., purchasing) parcels of private land in collaboration with land trusts and conservancy organizations; and
advancing objectives identified in the 2020 Old Growth Strategic Review and Forest Landscape Planning processes.
The Old Growth Nature Fund is one of several tools that will help enable shared commitments made under the Tripartite Framework Agreement on Nature Conservation, which was signed by the Province, the federal government, and the First Nations Leadership Council in 2023.
The land trusts and land conservancies that secured these lands have good working relationships with local First Nations and are committed to further developing those relationships, including through co-stewardship of the secured land.

Learn More:

Tripartite Framework Agreement on Nature Conservation (the “Framework Agreement”):

Together For Wildlife Strategy:

“New Future for Old Forests” report:

Conservation Lands:

A backgrounder follows.


Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship
Media Relations
250 896-7365


Nancy Newhouse, B.C. regional vice-president, Nature Conservancy of Canada –

“Today’s announcement celebrates the great conservation achievements that can happen when we come together to safeguard the forests, grasslands, coastlines and other habitats that make B.C. such an ecologically diverse province. Thanks to the Old Growth Nature Fund, the Nature Conservancy of Canada was able to assist the Kwiakah Nation in advancing their conservation vision for their territory. We commend the governments of B.C. and Canada for their ongoing commitment to supporting both nature conservation and reconciliation.”

K’ómoks First Nation –

“The K’ómoks First Nation is excited to hear of the good news revolving around the Province’s efforts to secure one-third of the timber reservation on the BC Hydro property near the Puntledge River. Our Nation is hopeful that the Comox Valley Land Trust will be successful in securing the remaining portion of the timber reservation, which would positively contribute to protecting fish habitat in the Puntledge River. Protecting these pockets of high-value ecosystems will only help mitigate climate change and work towards reducing rising river temperatures.”

Jasper Lament, CEO, The Nature Trust of BC –

“Rainforest trees more than 1,000 years old will be protected for the rest of their lives in the Crescent Spur conservation area, thanks to the Nature Trust of BC donors and the Old Growth Nature Fund. When the Magna Carta was signed in 1215, some of the western red cedars in this critical habitat were 200 years old. This was a rare opportunity to buy magnificent old-growth forest on private land and safeguard it for future generations.”

Kevin Smith, executive director, Habitat Acquisition Trust –

“Conserving old-growth forests and the habitat they provide for species at risk and other wildlife is critical, particularly near urban environments to help mitigate increasing development pressure and the impacts of climate change, and in areas that are of cultural significance to Indigenous Peoples. The Habitat Acquisition Trust will continue to work with partners to conserve these important natural habitats. We appreciate the support and funding from provincial and federal governments and local citizen donors and supporters.”

Chessi Miltner, executive director, Galiano Conservancy Association –

“The Talking Trees Nature Reserve protects one of the last intact tracts of mature forest left on Galiano Island and one of the most biodiverse. Remnant old growth, red-listed ecological communities, vibrant creek and wetland habitats, Garry oak woodlands, and 600 metres of undeveloped coastline are now preserved in perpetuity thanks to the Old Growth Nature Fund.”

Tim Ennis, executive director, Comox Valley Land Trust –

“Older forests have become so rare that it is essential to protect all we can. The Puntledge Forest can now continue to sequester carbon, provide important recreational opportunities and support a rich, natural environment. The biodiversity this forest supports is incredibly valuable.”

Erin O’Brien, ecology and conservation director, Pender Islands Conservancy Association –

“The Osprey Ridge Nature Reserve and the Vulture Ridge Nature Reserve both support high densities of old-growth fir, cedar, and arbutus, and provide critical habitat for wildlife, including species at risk. Connectivity with existing protected areas gives both properties disproportionate conservation value relative to their size. These securements will help promote ecological resilience and maintain biodiversity in this highly threatened ecoregion.”

Andy Day, CEO, BC Parks Foundation –

“Working together with the provincial and federal governments, the Wilson 5 Foundation, First Nations, local government and all our supporters reminds me of the old growth-forests we’re celebrating today. On its own, a tree has little hope of surviving, but together, they share information, resources, and support, creating a system that provides stability and lasting beauty for all. I’m elated and grateful that over 68 hectares of waterfront in East Sooke on Vancouver Island is now protected for the forest, people, and other species to enjoy, forever.”


Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship
Media Relations
250 896-7365


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