Celebrating protection of Sandy Beach Nature Reserve on Lheḵ’tines/ ́ Keats Island

On September 13, 2023, the SCCA, Islands Trust Conservancy, The Land Conservancy of BC, and other partner organizations, celebrated a big conservation win – the creation of Hoak-pus/Sandy Beach Nature Reserve on Lheḵ’tines/ ́ Keats Island, Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound. This is the Nature Reserve to be established on the island.

This is a location of cultural significance for the Coast Salish Peoples, and features 8.7 acres of Coastal Douglas-fir forest, over 350 metres of beachfront, and habitat for threatened species including the Great Blue Heron, olive-sided flycatcher, and the little brown myotis bat. The beach also provides spawning habitat for surf smelt and Pacific sand lance. These habitats are now protected forever!

This Nature Reserve was formerly part of the “Keats Camp”, a Baptist summer youth camp operated by the Convention of Baptist Churches of British Columbia. Part of the “Keats Camp” land was transferred to Islands Trust Conservancy on December 18th, 2020 to create the Hoak-pus/Sandy Beach Nature Reserve.

It took over 40 years for the parties involved to achieve the protection of this property. Later in the process, the SCCA was invited by Islands Trust Conservancy and The Land Conservancy of BC to become a co-holder of the conservation covenant on these lands. Land Trusts and Covenants are an important tool for protecting private land in perpetuity, which is why the SCCA chose to become a registered land trust organization, gaining the right in 2008 to hold conservation covenants under Section 219 of the Land Titles Act.

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