A $500,000 community fundraising campaign to protect the Bevan Trails and surrounding forest ecosystem

June 28, 2024
Comox Valley, B.C.

The Puntledge Forest is a beloved recreational area and a rare local example of a mature, biodiverse forest. The Comox Valley Land Trust (CVLT) is launching a community fundraising campaign to protect it.

The CVLT learned that the park-like forest on BC Hydro land was not protected when logging plans were announced in 2020. Timber harvesting rights on the property were owned by Manulife Investment Management (Manulife IM), on behalf of their clients. The CVLT has already purchased 61 hectares of the forest using government grants received in 2023 and 2024. This campaign is to purchase the remaining 37 hectares.

“We are thrilled to kick off this community fundraising campaign to acquire the Puntledge Forest, ” said CVLT Executive Director Tim Ennis. “These maturing stands of trees are tomorrow’s old growth, and the biodiversity they contain is incredibly valuable.”

“We know that these forests are of significant importance to the community, and we have been working closely with the CVLT to find an alternative solution to allow for ownership transfer of the timber rights on the property so it will be preserved in perpetuity,” said Tom Sarno, Global Head of Timberland Investments for Manulife IM.

The K’ómoks First Nation has expressed their support for this project, issuing a statement that says in part: “Our nation is hopeful that the CVLT will be successful in securing the remaining portion of the timber reservation, which would positively contribute to protecting fish habitat in the Puntledge River. Protecting these pockets of high-value ecosystems will only help mitigate climate change, and work towards reducing rising river temperatures.”

The campaign must raise $2.4 million to acquire 37 hectares in the Bevan trails area. The CVLT is actively applying for provincial, federal, and other grant funding for $1.9 million of this amount, and hope to fundraise the remaining $500,000 by March 2025. The prior purchases were achieved with funds from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), with funds for the second purchase delivered through BC’s Old Growth Nature Fund.

The Puntledge forest supports dozens of species of conservation concern, including an endangered summer run of Chinook salmon. The forest is also highly valued by the K’ómoks First Nation for cultural purposes, is the gateway to multiple popular swimming holes such as ‘Palm Beach’, and is the site of historic coal mining works.

For media inquiries, contact:

Tim Ennis
Comox Valley Land Trust
[email protected]

Media Resources: CVLT Puntledge Forest media

Save Puntledge Forest Campaign Page

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