Ecological Reserves

2021 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of ecological reserves in BC.

Ecological Reserves are protected-areas in BC that have been set aside by the province to conserve representative and special ecosystems of the province, rare species and special features and phenomena of biological or geological importance.

Overall, they contribute to the maintenance of biodiversity and the protection of genetic materials in BC. Although Ecological Reserves are open to the public for non-consumptive, observational uses, these areas are not created for outdoor recreation. Instead, their main role is research and education.

The Nature Trust of BC has four conservation properties in ecological reserves.

Mount Maxwell

Mount Maxwell is located on Salt Spring Island and conserves rare Garry oak woodland in the Coastal Douglas-fir biogeoclimatic zone.

Mount Maxwell conservation lands | photo by Graham Osborne

Honeymoon Bay

Honeymoon Bay is on Western Vancouver Island and was selected to conserve the provincially-rare Pink Fawn Lilies, along with numerous other wildflower species.

Pink Fawn Lily

Katherine Tye

Katherine Tye is a small Ecological Reserve in Chilliwack that protects a viable population of the Phantom Orchid, which is very likely the rarest orchid in British Columbia and among the rarest plants in all of Canada.

Phantom Orchid

Robson Bight (Michael Bigg)

The Robson Bight Ecological reserve on Vancouver Island provides a sanctuary to killer whales and protects significant killer whale habitat. This location is the only sanctuary for killer whales on the west coast of Canada and is globally significant.

Orca | photo by B. Walwork