VICTORIA - The Province, with support from several groups, will be acquiring almost 400 hectares of private property on Quadra Island, linking two provincial parks to further protect unique and sensitive ecosystems.
The Province will purchase three parcels of private land on Quadra Island from Merrill & Ring Forestry L.P. for $5.85 million, including a donation of $350,000 from the forest company.
As a result, Small Inlet Marine and Octopus Islands Marine provincial parks will be connected, increasing the island's designated protected area. With numerous bays and small islands, these parks serve as habitat for a host of marine life including salmon, harbour seals, porpoises and octopi.
This acquisition will improve access for recreational opportunities including boating, kayaking, fishing, wilderness camping and hiking. Important archaeological sites and a historic portage route will be protected.
A number of partners will be contributing to this purchase, including:
- Merrill & Ring Forestry L.P. ($350,000)
- BC Marine Parks Forever Society ($433,000)
- Quadra Island Conservancy and Stewardship Society and Save the Heart of Quadra Parks ($200,000)
- Vancity Community Foundation, supported by Vancity Credit Union, is funding $186,940 and acquires the rights to carbon offsets resulting from the protection of the acquired area. The foundation will work with Offsetters Climate Solutions to develop the offsets in compliance with the B.C. emissions offset regulation.
To complete the transaction, the Province will provide $2.7 million in cash to Merrill & Ring Forestry L.P. Two parcels of land on nearby East Thurlow Island worth almost $2 million will be given to the forestry company through a land exchange with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. TimberWest has released one of these parcels from their tree farm licence.
The total provincial contribution will be approximately $4.68 million, or about 80 per cent of the land value. This includes a bequest of $901,308 to BC Parks from John Locke Malkin estate, and $829,631 from the Pacific Marine Heritage Legacy trust.
Merrill & Ring have owned the land between Small Inlet Marine and Octopus Islands Marine provincial parks since the late 1800's. The lands were first identified for protection by the Province in 1995.
Mary Polak, Minister of Environment -
"I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to everyone involved in coming to mutual agreement that will make this acquisition possible. Protecting ecological, cultural and recreation activities for future generations is so important. We are doing just that through this land acquisition, which will be made possible with the commitment and dedication of Merrill & Ring Forestry L.P., our partners and the public."
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations -
"This land exchange with Merrill & Ring is enabling the Province to acquire private land on Quadra Island, which has been of particular interest to add to B.C.'s protected areas system for some time. This is a time to celebrate the dedication and hard work of all those who have made this possible."
Norm Schaaf, vice president, Timberlands and Administration, Merrill & Ring -
"Merrill & Ring is pleased to see this land sale and park dedication come to a conclusion. We appreciate the diligence and many-year efforts of the ministry staff to obtain the resources necessary to acquire this property. Merrill & Ring is happy to join with the Province, their financial partners and the public to protect this unique site."
Ken Roxburgh, chair, Quadra Island Conservancy and Stewardship Society -
"Quadra Islanders are really excited that the northern parks on Quadra have finally been completed. I would like to thank the many people who contributed and who worked so hard on the campaign to raise $200,000 as a statement of local support for this land acquisition. Through the perseverance and patience of many individuals, we now have a completed park for the benefit of all British Columbians."
George Creek, president, BC Marine Parks Forever Society -
"We are pleased to once again to participate with the Province in the acquisition of lands to be used as a marine park. This contribution of $433,000 brings our total commitment to the Octopus Islands Marine Park to $683,000, and $1.2 million in total for all marine parks we have contributed to over the years. We continue to work with the Province to develop and enhance the marine park system through donations from the public and seek opportunities to present our story and history."
- Octopus Islands Marine Park is part of the B.C. marine trail network, a series of campsites, resting areas and safe havens cared for by recreational kayakers and boaters. The kayak route along the Inside Passage will now be connected continuously from Prince Rupert to Puget Sound.
- British Columbia has the highest percentage of its land base dedicated to protected areas in Canada, and one of the largest protected areas systems in North America.
- British Columbia has 1,030 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas covering nearly 14 million hectares or approximately 14.3% of the provincial land base.
To view images and maps of the lands to be acquired, visit: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjtWwxv8
To learn more about the BC Marine Parks Forever Society, visit: www.marineparksforever.ca
For more information about B.C.'s provincial parks, visit: www.bcparks.ca
Connect with BC Parks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/YourBCParks
Ministry of Environment