Public Safety Notice – Danger tree work in S’ul-hween X’pey (Elder Cedar) Nature Reserve in February

Danger tree work will be happening in the S’ul-hween X’pey (Elder Cedar) Nature Reserve throughout the month of February. This is a notice to all public that the reserve will be closed while this work is happening, and to please not enter the Nature Reserve when you see signage present. We are working with the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust to ensure signage is placed on the trail at the three entrances to the Nature Reserve on days when work is happening.

This work is weather dependent, so the exact days of work in February are unknown. The work is being done by a local, on-island arborist who is removing the danger of standing dead or leaning trees that are directly on the trail, which could cause harm to trail users. Instructions have been provided to the arborist to protect the ecological integrity of the area by:

  • Leaving the danger trees standing as tall as is safe to be wildlife trees
  • Potential compaction from heavy machinery will be avoided wherever possible
  • All cut wood will remain on the nature reserve, along the forest floor, to naturally decompose. Small branches will be left as close to the ground as possible for quicker decomposition and to avoid ladder fuels in the event of a fire

We apologize to any trail users for any inconvenience this causes, and hope to have the trails open again once it is safe.

Sign reading: Public Safety notice - Danger Trees. Cutting works in progress at S'ul-hween X'pey (Elder Cedar) Nature Reserve in February. A professional arborist will be carrying out dangerous tree work in the Nature Reserve in February over multiple days. This work is required to keep trails safe for users. The trails will be closed when work is in progress, please obey all signage and do not enter the Nature Reserve while work is ongoing. We apologize for any inconvenience. Phone number 1-250-405-5151. Email is itc@islandstrust.bc.ca. website is islandstrust.bc.ca/conservancy

Link Island donated to Islands Trust Conservancy – highest valued land donation in Conservancy’s history

For immediate release

Betty Swift with daughter Hally and son-in-law Ted in the sunshine on a mossy covered cliff overlooking the water on Link Island
Late Betty Swift (middle) with daughter Hally and son-in-law Eric on Link Island – Islands Trust Conservancy

Lək̓ ʷəŋən, METULIYE/Victoria, B.C. – Late conservationist Betty Swift has donated Link Island, a 21.45 hectare (52.5 acre) island between Gabriola Island and Vancouver Island, to Islands Trust Conservancy. The Link Island Nature Reserve, valued at $3.73 million by BC Assessment, is Islands Trust Conservancy’s largest-ever land donation and the largest complete island managed by Islands Trust Conservancy. The Reserve has the added protection of a new conservation covenant held by the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust and the Gabriola Land & Trails Trust.

A Western Screech Owl pops its head out of its nest cavity in an arbutus tree.
Western Screech Owl – Ren Ferguson

Located southeast of Nanaimo, Link Island is nestled between Mudge Island and DeCourcy Island and is connected to both islands at low tides. It has a wealth of biodiversity, with over three kilometres of undeveloped shoreline, coastal cliffs, wetlands, intricate sandstone formations, tidal flats, and mixed forest ecosystems such as threatened coastal Douglas-fir, arbutus, and prairie oak meadows. The island is home to threatened species that are vulnerable to human disturbance, including Western Screech-Owl, Barn Swallow, and Great Blue Heron. The island will continue to remain closed to the public so it can provide sanctuary to the rare and threatened ecosystems and species that reside there.

Before Betty Swift passed away in 2021, she left instructions that the island be transferred to Islands Trust Conservancy. Her gift reserved the right of use to Link Island for her children and grandchildren for the duration of their lives. The Swift family’s dream is that Link Island will become a location for climate-change research in the Salish Sea.

“This gift is about the future”, says Barbara Swift, Betty Swift’s daughter. “It is a gift for us all.”

“We feel so honored that Betty and her family have entrusted us with this island,” says Linda Adams, Islands Trust Conservancy Chair. “It is our intent to manage Link Island in a way that recognizes and protects both its cultural and ecological values.”

Cliffs spotted with over-hanging arbutus trees overlooking the Salish Sea on a rainy spring day. In the foreground little yellow wildflowers and lichens cover the cliff face.
Link Island Nature Reserve – Carmen Smith

Link Island Nature Reserve has the added protection of a conservation covenant held by the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust and the Gabriola Land & Trails Trust. “Having an entire island set aside for conservation is an incredibly rare thing,” says Paul Chapman, of the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust. “I’m excited to see what we do with this unique opportunity, and to work together to find innovative ways to steward the island in the face of climate change.”

Gabriola Land & Trails Trust President, Rob Brockley, had the pleasure of meeting with the Swift family shortly before the title to Link Island was transferred to Islands Trust Conservancy. “Many of us aspire to show generosity when opportunities arise, but the Swift family has actually done it, and on such a grand scale,” said Brockley. “Link Island is an incredibly generous gift for conservation, and the Swifts are a truly remarkable family.”

Islands Trust Conservancy is currently developing a management plan, and is initiating conversations about its management with First Nations whose territory and interests include Link Island. Link Island is located within the territories of several First Nations including the Cowichan Tribes, Xeláltxw (Halalt) First Nation, Lyackson First Nation, Spune’luxutth’ (Penelakut Tribe), SEMYOME (Semiahmoo) First Nation, Snuneymuxw (Nanaimo) First Nation, Stz’uminus (Chemainus) First Nation, and Ts’uubaa-asatx (Lake Cowichan) First Nation.

-END-

Quick Facts

  • Currently, only 12% of land in the Gabriola Island Local Trust Area is protected, despite its high biodiversity values.
  • More than 65% of land on islands in the Salish Sea is privately owned – meaning that individual landholders’ voluntary conservation actions are critical to protecting biodiversity and addressing the impacts of climate change in the region.
  • British Columbia is the most biologically diverse province in Canada– but it also has the largest number of species under threat of extinction.
    • Nearly 300 species are listed as being at risk of extinction in the Islands Trust Area, representing 25% of rare species found in BC. Protecting habitat is one of the best ways to prevent species from becoming extinct and aids in the recovery of those species currently at risk.

Press Assets

You can download the full news release from our News Release page.

High-resolution images have been made available for download to support this news release. You can access and download these assets from our Photo Gallery page. Please use only the images identified in the Islands Trust Conservancy Media Assets gallery in support of this story with credit to the appropriate authors (in the file name).

Sunny view showing crystal clear tidepools beneath a sandstone cliff spotted with arbutus and coastal Douglas-fir trees.
Link Island Nature Reserve –  Nanaimo & Area Land Trust

 

About

Islands Trust Conservancy is the conservation land trust for over 450 islands of the Salish Sea and is a part of Islands Trust. Since 1990, Islands Trust Conservancy has protected more than 113 properties, covering more than 1,375 hectares of island ecosystems. This success is thanks to the vision, support, and generosity of donors and partners.

Contact

For all media enquiries please contact Carmen Smith, Communications Specialist, Islands Trust Conservancy

Islands Trust Conservancy gives $6,000 funding boost to support nature stewardship on Gabriola Island

Lək̓ ʷəŋən, METULIYE/Victoria, B.C.  – Gabriola Land and Trails Trust (GaLTT) has received a $6,000 Opportunity Fund grant from Islands Trust Conservancy to help them meet an overwhelming demand from islanders wishing to take action to care for nature on Gabriola Island.

Nature Steward participant sign to encourage wildlife friendly gardens
Nature Steward participants display signs to promote the program to their neighbours. Credit Libby Gunn

The Opportunity Fund grant will support GaLTT’s booming Nature Stewards Program. Since launching the program in 2021 GaLTT has received a hugely positive response from Gabriola residents. Almost 100 acres have been conserved by dozens of private landholders through voluntary pledges to keep the trees and protect habitat on at least 30 percent of their properties. “Home of a Wildlife Friendly Garden” signs and signs about habitat conservation are popping up around the island.  With the ongoing support of the Islands Trust Conservancy and partners, GaLTT hopes to secure 350 acres of habitat pledges by the end of 2023.

“Supporting voluntary actions and programs like Nature Stewards on the islands is critical to the success of conservation in the Salish Sea,” says Kate-Louise Stamford, Chair of the Islands Trust Conservancy Board. “We are happy to be able to support the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust and hope this support contributes to their continued success on Gabriola.”

Currently only 12% of land in the Gabriola Island Local Trust Area is protected, despite its high biodiversity values. More than 65% of land on islands in the Salish Sea are privately held – meaning that individual landholders’ voluntary conservation actions are critical to protecting biodiversity and addressing impacts from climate change in the region.

“Many landholders are already champions of nature conservation on their land, from larger acreages to less than half-acre parcels,” says Ken Gurr of GaLTT. “We want to acknowledge everyone for their efforts, and ask all islanders to conserve as much of their properties in a nature friendly state as possible. We all know this decade is pivotal for so many global issues, and our local efforts will feed into the huge international movement to protect 30 percent of the planet by 2030.”

Residents and property holders on Gabriola who are interested in learning more about this program are encouraged to visit www.galtt-naturestewards.com or fill out the contact form for a site visit at www.galtt-naturestewards.com/join-us.html

Gabriolan Jeff Rietkerk is conserving over 10 acres of habitat on his family’s farm with Nature Stewards. Credit: GaLTT.

 

About the Islands Trust Conservancy Opportunity Fund Grant

The purpose of Islands Trust Conservancy’s Opportunity Fund is to support timely opportunities to protect biodiversity in the Islands Trust Area. The Opportunity Fund provides support for ‘hard to fundraise’ costs associated with land protection. It can also be used to leverage increased donations to land acquisition projects.

Since 2005 more than 200 donors have contributed $200,000+ to the Opportunity Fund, enabling Islands Trust Conservancy to distribute 28 grants that have helped protect more than 530 hectares of land across the islands in the Salish Sea.

Press Assets

High resolution images have been made available for download to support this news release. You can access these assets here.

Please use only in the images identified in the Islands Trust Conservancy Media Assets gallery in support of this story with credit to appropriate authors (in file name).

Quick Facts

  • Currently only 12% of land in the Gabriola Island Local Trust Area is protected, despite its high biodiversity values.
  • Islands Trust Conservancy protects natural landscapes across the Islands Trust region. The support of individuals and partners has helped to protect more than 1,365 ha of land within 32 nature reserves and 79 conservation covenants on islands in the Salish Sea.
  • More than 65% of land on islands in the Salish Sea are privately owned – meaning that individual landholders’ voluntary conservation actions are critical to protecting biodiversity and addressing impacts from climate change in the region.
  • British Columbia is the most biologically diverse province in Canada– but it also has the largest number of species under threat of extinction.
    • Nearly 300 species are listed as being at risk of extinction in the Islands Trust Area, representing 25% of rare species found in BC. Protecting habitat is one of the best ways to prevent species from becoming extinct and aids in the recovery of those species currently at risk.

About Islands Trust Conservancy

Islands Trust Conservancy is the conservation land trust for over 450 islands of the Salish Sea and is a part of Islands Trust. Since 1990, Islands Trust Conservancy has protected more than 110 properties, covering more than 1,365 hectares of island ecosystems. This success is thanks to the vision, support, and generosity of donors and partners. Learn more about our work.

Contact

For all media enquiries please contact Carmen Smith, Communications Specialist – Islands Trust Conservancy

250-405-5183, csmith@islandstrust.bc.ca