Genevieve Singleton is one of those who’s been working for years on trying to save the Eagle Heights land. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

VIDEO: Grassland, old-growth Douglas fir forest, limestone karst features all protected at Eagle Heights

Many unique or red-listed species will now be protected in their habitat as part of Eagle Heights

After the province announced that it was saving “Eagle Heights”, many readers wondered what territory that name actually covered.

The 144-hectare Eagle Heights acquisition protects a unique pocket grassland, and is home to rare and endangered species, an old-growth Douglas fir forest, limestone karst features, and other red-listed ecosystems, according to a release from the premier’s office.

“The diverse property is culturally significant to local indigenous peoples. The acquired lands are near Koksilah River Provincial Park northwest of Shawnigan Lake, and will either be added to the park or established as a new Class A park,” stated the release.

Cowichan Tribes is excited about finally achieving this.

“The area known as Eagle Heights has been used by the Cowichan People since time immemorial and is of extreme spiritual and cultural importance. Certain grasses are still used in spiritual practices today, and are only found in the unique grassland ecosystem of Eagle Heights,” said Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour. “Cowichan Tribes has been working to protect this area from clear-cut logging for over a decade, and we are happy to hear that Eagle Heights will now be protected.”

Elder Albie Charlie, who was present at the announcement said, “when we build relationships with each other respectfully, it’s so much easier to work together to save the land. You know if you stand still for a moment in silence, you will hear the message from the forest giving thanks for its protection. The land is so important, not only to us, but to our children, and we must stand together to protect it.”

Because logging has been looked at for part of the area, Island Timberlands has had to be involved in the talks as well and the company’s chief forester, Bill Waugh said the company “is pleased to be able to work collaboratively with BC Parks to achieve government’s objective of protecting the unique grassland ecosystem at Eagle Heights, while at the same time supporting our managed forest operations of our surrounding lands. The Eagle Heights project represents the culmination of many years of diligent effort, and is a testament to what can be achieved through patient and mutually respectful dialogue.”

The Cowichan Valley Regional District is also a player in this long-running drama.

“The actions of BC Parks and their partners to fund the acquisition of the Eagle Heights Grasslands complex above the Koksilah River are commendable,” said CVRD board chair Jon Lefebure. “The CVRD board and Cowichan community are longstanding advocates for protection of these lands, which are notably the most valuable and fragile pocket grasslands on Vancouver Island.”

Brian Springinotic, CEO of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, said “The pocket grasslands and old-growth forest found on the Eagle Heights property provide important habitat for vulnerable and threatened wildlife species, including Roosevelt elk, western screech owl and northern goshawk. The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation helped fund the purchase of this land so that it would be protected in perpetuity and available to all British Columbians.”

 

Environment Minister George Heyman announces the acquisition of Eagle Heights. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau is part of the group presenting the good news in Shawnigan Lake. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Just Posted

Piano, guitar music wafts through St. Mike’s in ‘From Spanish to Pastiche’

Andrei and Jannie Burdeti combine their talents for a delightful afternoon of music in Chemainus

Andrea Rondeau column: Holiday weekend delivers letters

It occurred to me that this was just giving me a taste of what Santa must go through every year.

Sarah Simpson Column: Kids’ Christmas is going to the dogs

I enjoy long weekends because of the extra family time they offer,… Continue reading

Duncan Lions and friends step up with irrigation system for Providence Farm kitchen garden

Duncan Lions Club members were busy out at Providence Farm, both having… Continue reading

Rare setback for Cowichan 49ers

Masters team suffers unusual loss to Castaways Juniors

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Most Read