Organizers of a grassroots fundraising effort celebrate after raising enough money to buy 75 acres on Salt Spring for a new park.
On Wednesday, Oct. 12, the Salt Spring Community Park Campaign reported that the initiative to raise $850,000 for the purchase of woodlands on Hwmet’utsum (Mount Maxwell) met its goal before the Oct. 31 deadline. , thanks to a final push and a generous grant from the Salt Spring Island Foundation, made possible by funds from the trust established for the estate of the late Susan Bloom.
Plans for the property include establishing a network of multi-use trails for horseback riding, mountain biking, disc golf, and hiking. Managed and shared use of the park will ensure conservation of the area while encouraging outdoor recreation.
The transfer of these lands from private to community ownership will create the largest contiguous expanse of protected land in British Columbia’s southern Gulf Islands. Naturalist and campaign supporter Briony Penn said the purchase would protect the forest from ecological degradation, development and deforestation, and bring “enormous benefits” to local biodiversity.
“Equally important,” Penn said, “it will protect an important area capable of sequestering carbon for the next seven generations, a critical part of local efforts to combat climate change.”
Salt Spring Solutions Co-Chair Elizabeth FitzZaland said the goal was achieved after three years of community partnership involving a coalition of community groups and stakeholders, all coming together to save the earth.
“I’m so proud of how the community jumped in the end to get us across the finish line,” FitzZaland. “So many islanders and friends of Salt Spring Island have contributed in many different ways, from cash donations to hosting events, but we owe a special thank you to Foxglove Farm and Bullock Lake Farm for hosting two recent events. who made all the difference. We are deeply grateful to the Bloom AlterEco Trust for their timely generosity in helping us complete the funding and to the Salt Spring Island Foundation as our charitable partner.
Once the purchase is finalized, the Capital Regional District (CRD) Parks and Recreation Commission will begin engaging the community in the development of a land management plan. Campaign fundraising adviser Christopher Roy said the effort was an important next step.
“We are now beginning the work that meaningfully engages Elders and members of the local Coast Salish community,” said Roy, “the environmental community and youth – in the planning, protection and enjoyment of this new recreational resource on Salt Spring Island.”
Other donations received by the Salt Spring Island Foundation Land Safeguard Fund, up to and including October 31, will be tax-receipted and contribute to the RDC fund for planning, the design and implementation of the park.
For more information or to donate, visit the website: communitypark.ca.