Donation of Denman marsh site to Islands Trust ‘tremendous’
By NORMAN GIDNEY Times Colonist staff
A large wetland and second-growth forest on Denman Island have been donated to the Islands Trust Fund.
The 50.5-hectare site at the southern end of Denman includes the island’s largest marsh, an important habitat for more than 80 species of birds. The land was donated “to ensure it would remain in its natural state forever,” the ITF said.
“We’re delighted to receive it. It’s tremendous,” said Louise Bell, a Denman representative on the Islands Trust council who was chairwoman of the trust fund for six years.
The property is adjacent to Boyle Point Provincial Park and a quarter-section of B.C. Crown land, so there’s quite a block of land that is in its natural state,” Bell said.
A smaller piece of waterfront in the forest-marsh property was subdivided for a house yet to be built, and this remains in the hands of the donor.
A special section of the Land Title Act was used, allowing subdivision of an otherwise unsubdividable property in exchange for a public good.
The donated land also includes bluffs above the shoreline. The donor had previously allowed residents to walk through the second-growth forest and marsh, and this will continue, Bell said.
She gave the Denman Conservancy Association credit for negotiating the gift. The association worked with the owner for almost six years and will hold a conservation covenant as additional protection to maintain the land in its natural state.
“There’s not a winner and a loser here, which is refreshing,” said DCA director Patti Willis, about the agreement that benefits both owner and public.
“This donation is very large. Not everyone would do this. It’s someone who’s looking many generations ahead,” said Willis.
Morrison Marsh is an important overwintering and breeding area for birds, including several species of interest, such as great blue herons, Hutton’s vireo and red-legged frogs. Beaver, mink, otter and Pacific tree frogs live there, and several communities of endangered plants grow on the site.