It was a good day for BC Parks. In fact, it was a good day for all British Columbians as a crowd gathered in the foyer of the legislature building to hear Mary Polak, Minister of Environment, and Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, announce the Province’s acquisition of nearly 400 hectares of private land on Quadra Island.
Acquiring three parcels of private land from Merrill & Ring Forestry L.P. enables BC Parks to link Small Inlet Marine and Octopus Islands Marine provincial parks together. The benefits include:
- Increase Quadra Island’s designated protected area
- Preserve habitat for a host of marine life including salmon, harbour seals, porpoises and octopi
- Improve access for recreational opportunities
- Protect important archeological sites
The event was imbued with a celebratory spirit and genuine appreciation for the commitment, perseverance and cooperation exhibited by forest companies, government officials, ministry staff and community members who worked diligently over decades to make this contribution to the BC parks system possible.
Minister Thomson explained, “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.”
Minister Thomson also acknowledged TimberWest for the important partnership roll they played in helping to make the land acquisition possible by donating a portion of Tree Farm License 47.
Norm Schaaf, vice president, Timberlands and Administration, Merrill & Ring, told the crowd the company has been involved with forest land on Quadra Island for well over 100 years. In fact, it was one of their company’s founders, Thomas Merrill, who signed the crown grant for the property back in 1885.
Norm explained it was about 20 years ago when the province first expressed an interest in acquiring the property to add to B.C.’s protected areas system. “It’s been a long, sometimes bumpy road, with many interesting twists and turns. 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.”
Spokespeople from the BC Marine Parks Forever Society and the Quadra Island Conservancy and Stewardship Society and Save the Heart of Quadra Parks were also present to express their excitement about the completion of the northern parks on Quadra Island, as well as to express their appreciation for all the community members whose support and collective effort helped make their contributions possible.
You can find more details about the park and land acquisition on the British Columbia Newsroom website: Community efforts celebrated in Quadra Island land deal.
You can see video footage from the announcement on the BCL Rewind YouTube channel or click on the image below (the Quadra Island story starts at the 1:18 minute mark).
*Photos courtesy of BC gov photos on Flickr (www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)