Land donation expands Valens Brook Nature Reserve on Denman Island

Land donation expands Valens Brook Nature Reserve on Denman Island

Thanks to the generosity of ecologists Luise Hermanutz and David Innes, the Valens Brook Nature Reserve on Denman Island is expanding by nearly three hectares (six acres). The addition will add protection to Valens Brook – a salmon-bearing creek that runs through a maturing forest and a lush sword fern gully into Baynes Sound, on the southwest side of Denman Island.

The Islands Trust Conservancy’s Valens Brook Nature Reserve was established in 2012 when Dr. Kal Holsti and Marilyn Wan protected nearly four hectares (nine acres).

“Protecting our property was part of a bigger vision started by Kal Holsti and Jenny Balke,” said Luise Hermanutz. “As ecologists and scientists, we recognize the importance of Valens Brook in protecting the watershed, salmon, and the Coastal Douglas fir region. Denman Islanders are conservation-minded, so we hope the entire Valens Brook will someday be protected.”

Holsti and Wan hoped their original donation would be the first of many along Valens Brook where numerous private properties border the stream and are critical to salmon protection. Hermanutz and Innes hope, in turn, that their recent donation will inspire more to do the same.

“In the Gulf Islands, private landowners hold the key to protecting the beauty and vitality of our natural environment,” said Kate-Louise Stamford, chair of the Islands Trust Conservancy Board. “We look forward to working with others who are inspired by the donations of their neighbours.”

The Valens Brook Nature Reserve was protected using Section 99 of BC’s Land Title Act which allows landowners to donate a portion of their land while retaining the remainder for their own use through a simplified subdivision process. Both lands were also donated through Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program.