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NEWS & VIEWS > ISLAND LIFE

Fighting for fir


ONE CONSERVANCY ASSOCIATION ASKS VICTORIANS TO SAVE TREES THIS SEASON
nly an island away, extinction lurks funds from their Resilient Capital Fund, with the on the cliffs of an endangered coastal conservancy being one of the first to receive the Douglas-fir ecosystem but Victorians honour. can prevent it. Charlifour says resistance for the project has The Galiano Conservancy been minimal. Association is hosting a For the Forest Fundraiser Social hurdles arent as big of an issue. Theyve on Sun., Nov. 25, in an attempt to help raise the been there in the past, but we actually have a final $200,000 needed to protect its matched lot of support here from the local people. Some national funds and its negotiations on a sought- protected lands are even through conservation after piece of land now facing development. covenants. Kicking off in the Argyle Attic on Sunday, the In these covenants, landowners create protecwhiskey bars Wooded Establishments in the tive stipulations for their land even after they Pacific Northwest motif will play host to the pass. conservancys event for the Mid-Galiano Island A historical battle has raged on between Protection Network. the conservancy and forestry giant MacMillan Just $200,000 away from its goal, the stakes are Bloedel, which once owned half the island. The high. Without feud devolved into accusations of slander and BY COLIN CAYER this final cash court cases. At the time, rejection of the forestry news@mondaymag.com infusion by the companys offer-of-sale resulted in open market end of 2012, the sales. Fluctuating residency rights rubbed some group will lose its matched funds from the Nature landowners the wrong way, but todays protecConservancy of Canada. tion shouldnt be confused with natural landscape Essentially, [wed] be back to square one, says hording. Galiano Learning Centre is another arm Lia Chalifour, biologist intern at the conservancy. of the Mid-Galiano Island Protection Network According to the Ministry of Forests, Lands project, which seeks to bring new immigrants, and Natural Resources, the Coastal Douglas-fir refugees and nature-deprived youth to Galiano Biogeoclimatic Zone is 250,000 hectares, and Island. includes the The site Southern Gulf of the future Islands, parts learning cenof the Mainland tre was previand a portion ously owned by of Vancouver a man who did Island, includsome small-time ing Victoria. It is industrial logthe smallest of ging right on the 16 zones in B.C., property. You but also raises can see large the highest conareas where he cern for conserdidnt touch any vationists. of the forest and The Douglas there are areas fir is just one where he did. zone, but its The contrast is also the rarest. remarkable, It was the first Chalifour says. area in B.C. This is also RENE ZICH where people the reason the actually came One group needs help to protect the beauty of Galiano Island. group chose the from Europe site, envisioning and developed, long-term restoChalifour says. ration and hands-on projects. Millard has seen the Established in 1989 by physicist and luthier effect that projects like that have had on inner-city (lute maker) Ken Millard, the conservancy is a youth. trust that is used to these issues it makes its Most of the kids had never been to a forest, business purchasing land for conservation. But never been to an ocean, he says. Weve been givdevelopment is precisely the concern now. ing these day programs for the last ten years. The large parcel we purchased, fondly called Projects dont end at saving the Douglas fir, District Lot 57, is 188 acres [76 hectares] with two however. The next step will be to secure the kilometres of waterfront, says Millard. Almost $4-million conservation project. all of the waterfront is intact. Its old growth Though there are no immediate plans to develDouglas-fir and arbutus. op land, some owners of DL58 are not opposed to DL57 rises up to ridges then falls to a valley and the idea. They also like the option of conservation wetland locals call The Great Beaver Swamp. thats why theyve agreed to sell the land at fair Named by the surveyors of 1888, this is the sec- market value. ond parcel of land, not surprisingly called District We need everyone who lives in this zone to Lot 58. While the names may not be creative, do what they can to protect this landscape, says the cliffs and Garry oak ecosystem are, and so is Millard. Help us carry out that protection. M the Straight of Georgia where it connects with Join the For the Forest Fundraiser silent auction and another protected land, Pebble Beach. The conservancy has received a lot of help to mixer Sun., Nov. 25, 5pm at Argyle Attic [777 Courtney, get this far. Federal funds from the Natural Areas above Smiths Pub]. Auction items include the work of Conservation Program account for half of all mon- artists Keith Holmes, Larry Foden, Brian Mitchell, Leela ies raised. Donations from Mountain Equipment Ford, along with jewelry by Solomon Rose, adventure Co-op, a bequest from an avid kayaker interested tours by Muktuk Adventures and a romantic getaway to in protecting the view and major community Galiano Islands own Serenity by the Sea. Online donaresponse were also essential. Even VanCity loaned tions accepted at http://bit.ly/106IYAg.

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