Great news out of Nelson, British Columbia! 2021 Conservation Alliance grantee the Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society (CLPS) announced that 121 acres of land above Cottonwood Lake that was previously slated to be clear cut will now be permanently protected.
The success of this project was truly a grassroots community undertaking. In 2018, in response to learning that Cottonwood Lake was slated to be clear cut, a group of concerned citizens joined together to create the Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society. CLPS rallied support from close to 1,000 individual donors, as well as the local business community, conservation agencies, and the regional government. The final chapter of this project is now complete: the land was recently transferred to The Nature Conservancy of Canada where it will be managed and protected forever.
The area surrounding Cottonwood Lake is an incredibly rich habitat. Old growth trees that are anywhere from 300-400 years old are found in the forests. Grizzly bears, birds, fish and other wildlife all use the lake and forests as a corridor linking two key wilderness zones. In the past, this area had been heavily impacted by logging. This recent acquisition means that it will now be a secure and safe haven for wildlife, fish, birds, and humans to enjoy in perpetuity.
The Cottonwood Lake Project is a significant win for those who love recreating outdoors. Community members and visitors to the area all make their way to the land throughout the year to take part in the myriad recreational opportunities that the property offers. Fishing, ice skating, cross country skiing, and mountain biking are just a few of the activities the park is known for. The forest is highly visible from a nearby highway and this protection will enhance the local visual corridor, making sure that the beauty of the forest remains appreciated by all who pass by.
This success represents the power of grassroots conservation groups to mobilize their communities to take action on behalf of the places they love. CLPS used creative methods to draw attention to this project including online auctions, photo competitions, and grade school fundraisers. This success shows that a passionate group of individuals have the power to bring change to their backyard, and ensure that future generations will one day know this special landscape.