Lək̓ ʷəŋən, METULIYE/Victoria, B.C. – Islands Trust Conservancy (ITC) celebrates the addition of Woodpecker Forest, a new protected area that will add 3.6 ha (9 acres) to nearly 17 ha (41.5 acres) of protected wildlife corridors on SDȺY¸ES/ North Pender Island.
Protected lands provide many benefits to island communities. The forests and wetlands of Woodpecker Forest will purify the air and water and actively remove and store carbon.
The land was protected through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP), a program unique to Islands Trust in B.C. that allows landowners who protect private land to receive a property tax exemption for their contribution to the islands.
Introducing Woodpecker Forest Covenant on SDȺY¸ES / North Pender Island.
Thanks to the ongoing generosity of islanders Peter Paré and Lisa Baile, an additional 3.63 hectares of land near the existing Lisa Baile Nature Reserve has been protected on SDȺY¸ES / North Pender Island. This recent addition builds on existing protected land to create nearly 17 hectares (41.5 acres – approx. the size of 4 BC Place Arenas) of protected land along Clam Bay Rd. Connecting protected areas provides movement corridors for wildlife, helps buffer impacts of climate change, and aids in stemming biodiversity loss on the island.
Lisa Baile and Peter Paré first protected land near their home in 2021, with the creation of the Lisa Baile Nature Reserve. When the lot next door came on the market, Lisa and Peter decided to act.
“We bought the lot next door to connect it to our existing property with the goal of placing a conservation covenant on part of it to protect it,” says Peter.
Lisa and Peter state climate change and a strong desire to protect endangered Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems are what motivate them to keep finding ways to protect more land on North Pender. “We want to protect as much rare and endangered Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems as we can,” says Peter. “The development on these islands has led to a progressive loss of trees – which are one of the best carbon capturing devices out there – we have to do more to protect what biodiversity is left.”
“We need to respect all species on the planet, to protect their habitat, to speak up for them – for without the animals, birds, plants and insects and the services they provide, we cannot survive.,” says Lisa Baile.
“It is our hope that each little piece we can protect and set aside will help protect not just the rare coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems, but people as well in the face of climate change.” – Lisa Baile and Peter Paré.
Woodpecker Forest contains several at-risk ecosystems, including rare Douglas-fir and Western redcedar stands. The land rises steeply from a wetland and mature forest into mossy bluffs and dry woodlands. This diversity provides habitat for a rich variety of plants and animals. There are remnant old-growth trees and wildlife trees scattered throughout the forest, and a wetland complex that supports river otters, amphibians, an incredibly diverse bird community—including several species of woodpeckers—and at least one bat species. There is a public trail through a part of the wetland that is to be maintained by the Alternative Transportation Society’s Moving Around Pender project (MAP). This conservation covenant will be jointly managed in partnership with the Pender Islands Conservancy Association.
Conservation Covenants and voluntary actions by private citizens are critical to stemming biodiversity loss on islands in the Salish Sea.
These islands provide sanctuary to some of BC’s most endangered species and ecosystems. Conservation covenants help stem the loss of habitat for plants and animals from deforestation, development, and damage from human use, and ensure the persistence of the beaches, forests and wetlands. They can also be used to help conserve areas of cultural significance to First Peoples, now and into the future.
“Thanks to the generosity and actions taken by Lisa and Peter, these incredible places – full of rare and wonderful ecosystems and species – will remain protected and intact,” says Kate Emmings, Manager at Islands Trust Conservancy. “I’d count that as a win for residents, a win for nature, and a win for generations to come.”
This property was protected using a conservation covenant in the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP). For qualifying properties, NAPTEP provides landowners with a 65% property tax reduction for the portion of the property protected by a conservation covenant.
Lisa and Peter were also the first ever recipients of the Morrison Waxler Biodiversity Protection Legacy Fund that was established by a generous donor to help North and South Pender island residents protect land on these special islands.
The Islands Trust Conservancy website provides information and resources to landowners determine if a conservation covenant is right for them. Visit https://islandstrust.bc.ca/conservancy/protect-nature/conservation-covenants/ for more information.
We have both video and photo assets available to support this story. Please use only in the images identified in the Islands Trust Conservancy Media Assets gallery in support of this story.You can access these assets here.
If you require access to additional high-res video reels from the property and the island we can make those available – please contact our Communications Specialist – Carmen Smith, 250-405-5183, email@example.com.