Projects and other Conservancy News

Mount Artaban  |  Nature Reserves  |  Streamkeepers and Mapping Project
Marking Trails  |  Environmentally Sensitive Areas Study

2012 In Review

Nature Reserves: At a special Director's meeting on 8 January, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Gambier Island Conservancy and the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association (SCCA), which forms a protocol on how the two organizations will cooperate in being co-covenant holders on the protective covenants on the three Islands Trust Fund Nature Reserves in the vicinity of Brigade Bay, on Gambier.

On 11 February, John Gibbs from the SCCA, Boris Gorgitza,Tess Johnston, Peter Scholefield, Mike Stamford and Maria Van Dyk from the Conservancy accompanied Jeff Ralph from the Islands Trust Fund office on a visit to the nature reserves to examine possibilities for restoration work on the reserves.

Nature reserves on Gambier Island

Nature reserves near Brigade Bay, Gambier Island
source: Islands Trust Fund

The annual monitoring visit to the three nature reserves was conducted on 21 April by Islands Trust Fund consultants Doug Hopwood and Chris Ferris, who were accompanied by Conservancy members, Peter Scholefield and Tess Johnston.  Doug came back to the nature reserves the next day and on the following weekend to collect information for his preparation of a baseline study of the  reserves, which is a prerequisite for the covenants.

Feasibility of a National Park Reserve on Gambier Island: At its 8 January meeting, the directors agreed to invite Nerys Poole, former Bowen councillor and park advocate, to speak with the Conservancy directors on the subject, and also to invite Mel Turner of Bowen who was involved with the consultations on the proposed feasibility study for a Bowen Island National Park Preserve.

Both Nerys and Mel came to the director's meeting on 19 February, discussed their experience on Bowen Island and gave us their reasons why they thought the referendum to proceed with the Feasibility Study was defeated. They suggested that detailed preparation work be done before seeking input from the community on a proposed feasibility study for a National Park Preserve on Gambier Island. There was general agreement at the AGM that the Conservancy does not want to be a “lead-organization” on an initiative of this size; rather, it would prefer to be part of a Howe-Sound-wide general discussion on the topic.

AGM:  One interesting proposal arising from the annual general meeting in the Gambier Island Community Centre on 17 June was that the Conservancy participate in a meeting of those concerned about the future of Howe Sound, including topics such as the proposed Burnco Aggregate Mine Project in McNab Creek Valley (top of page) and the idea of a National Park Preserve on Gambier (below).

To commemorate Wolf Wiedemann's contribution to the Conservancy, it was agreed to use local resources to construct a shelter to house a trail map of Gambier Island and erect it in a prominent outdoor location.
Project planning is underway.

The results of the AGM election of officers were as follows: Peter Scholefield, President;  Boris Gorgitza, Treasurer; Kathy McTaggart, Secretary; and Maria Van Dyk and Mike Stamford, directors-at-large.

Lois Kennedy bequest: The Islands Trust Fund is still considering our suggestion to utilize the Sponsored Crown Grant process to acquire land on Gambier Island--using the bequest from Lois's estate to cover the cost of a land survey and the preparation of a management plan that would be required to establish a new nature reserve on Gambier. It has been learned that Trust Fund staff are now examining the possibility of giving a higher priority to pursuing a sponsored crown grant on Gambier than was previously the case. In the meantime, the funds from Lois's bequest have been securely invested with the Municipal Finance Authority. 

2011 in Review

Wolf Wiedemann, a long-time resident of Gambier Island and one of the founding directors of the Gambier Island Conservancy, passed away on August 26, 2011 at the age of 84. Wolf and his wife, Maria Van Dyk, who Is also a founding director, built a marvelous, custom-crafted house on what had been their five-hectare recreational property atop a hill near Gambier Harbour. They moved into their retirement home on a permanent basis in 1995.
Wolf Wiedemann
Wolf loved hiking in the outdoors and the peaceful solitude of nature. Aside from his treasurer duties, he worked tirelessly over the years to establish a network of hiking trails across the whole island to connect all communities as well as routes to popular recreational destinations such as Gambier Lake and beach access locations. Initially, there was some opposition to his vision for an across-island interconnecting trail network. He patiently supported the efforts of various communities to develop trails in their vicinity and eventually these trails became connected to each other, forming a network across the island.

Once this network became established, Wolf took the lead in the preparation of a detailed trail map with colour-coded routes and trail descriptions, including estimated hiking times for each of the routes. Using Conservancy funds, he arranged for the map to be printed in a convenient brochure format with the Conservancy's logo, mission statement and contact information included. This trail network and map was perhaps Wolf's greatest legacy to the Conservancy, which will serve to facilitate access for future generations of nature lovers to explore and preserve the natural beauty of Gambier Island.

Wolf's work experience in accounting and sales for Canadian Pacific Airlines highly qualified him to assume the responsibility as the Conservancy's treasurer, a position he held from the inception of the Conservancy in 1995 until his death. Wolf proved to be a very dedicated, talented and innovative treasurer. His precise and meticulous financial reports, presented at every Conservancy meeting and annually to the provincial government, were impressive in their detail and professionalism.

Among his accomplishments as treasurer were the following: a land trust fund he set up and managed for the Conservancy; collecting and administrating funds donated to the Conservancy to help establish the Mt Artaban Nature Reserve; financial advice he provided to the Islands Trust Fund when they were developing the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program; and through his negotiation skills, the ability to annually secure funding from the Sunshine Coast Regional District to maintain and develop trails on the island. Wolf's contribution to the Conservancy was exceptional and won't soon be forgotten!

Nature Reserves: The Islands Trust Fund has proposed that its three east-side nature reserves on Gambier Island have conservation covenants for future protection. The Conservancy has been working towards being joint covenant-holders with the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association (SCCA). The process is well underway with both groups agreeing with the latest draft of a Memorandum of Understanding and the Islands Trust Fund is in the process of preparing the covenants.

Mount Artaban, 2010

On 16 April, Peter Scholefield from Gambier Estates accompanied Tess Johnston from the Sea Ranch, Jason Herz and Angela Kroning from the SCCA and Doug Hopwood, Islands Trust Fund consultant (left to right in the photo) on the annual site monitoring visit to the three nature reserves. This visit included the installation of a variety of signs supplied by the Islands Trust Fund. On 10 July, a crew of three engaged by the Conservancy, spent a long day cleaning up the remains and debris from an old fire watch station within the Mt Artaban Nature Reserve at the peak.
Those who want to hike to the top of Mt Artaban on the trail up the south side can now more easily find their way to and from the public docks at Camp Fircom and at the Halkett Bay Marine Park. The subdivision's developer, Jim Green, has installed numerous signs at relevant locations throughout the Fircom Plateau subdivision, including on sections of dedicated trail rights-of-way through some of the subdivision lots.

Monitoring visit to nature reserves, 2011

Directors: On 15 May, at its Annual General Meeting, the Conservancy was pleased to welcome two new directors; James Fralic and Mike Stamford who were elected along with President, Peter Scholefield, Treasurer, Wolf Wiedemann, Secretary, Kathy McTaggart and Directors-at-large, Maria Van Dyk and Wendy Graham. On 26 August, the Conservancy was saddened by the death of one of its founding directors and long-time treasurer Wolf Wiedemann. His contribution to the Gambier Island Conservancy was exceptional and will not soon be forgotten.

Lois Kennedy bequest: At the invitation of the Island Trust Fund, Maria Van Dyk and Peter Scholefield attended a board meeting in Victoria on 26 May. The purpose was to inform the board on the Conservancy's suggestion for what property on Gambier island would be most suitable to acquire using Lois' bequest to the Islands Trust Fund of $100,000 for acquisition of land for protection. Following the decision of the AGM on 15 May, they proposed that the first priority should be Muskeg Lake, one of Lois' favourite spots. Lost Lake and Gambier Lake were suggested as second and third priorities respectively. They further suggested that property be acquired through the free crown grant process, which would allow for a larger piece of property to be protected. The Board directed staff to review the possibility of utilizing the Free Crown Grant process to acquire land on Gambier Island and to report back to the Board. It was mentioned that it may not be possible to proceed for a couple of years due to another free crown grant application that has precedence.

Feasibility of a National Park Reserve on Gambier Island: This topic arose at the AGM from local interest in the feasibility study being done with regard to establishing a national park reserve on Bowen Island. It was decided that the Conservancy should contact Parks Canada to explore the possibility of establishing a national park reserve on Gambier Island. This possibility seems more enticing now that Bowen Island property owners voted, on 19 November, against Parks Canada continuing with its feasibility study which has resulted in Parks Canada terminating its project on Bowen Island.

2010 in Review

Dr. Lois Kennedy, a long time resident of Gambier passed away on April 3, 2010. Lois and her husband Desmond moved in 1989 from Saskatoon to Gambier Harbour where they built a retirement home.Lois Kennedy But retirement was the last thing on Lois’s mind.

With her characteristic energy and passion, Lois got involved with community life and soon became President of the Gambier Island Community Association. During Lois’s tenure, the GICA addressed issues such as the relocation of the barge ramp, the Federal Department of Transportation’s divestiture of the Gambier docks, a ‘Wither Gambier Forum’ and allocation of seed money for the Gambier Fire Equipment Group and the Gambier Island Conservancy.

The natural world was of paramount importance to Lois. She earned a Masters degree and PHD in Science at The University of Manitoba where she taught and did research on the effects of acid rain in Northern Ontario. Later, she moved to the University of Saskatoon where she did research in the field of embryology.

So it was not surprising that Lois formed a strong bond and love for Gambier Island and its natural treasures. This translated into an initiative to try and focus the community on how to best preserve and protect the natural amenities of the Island. In 1995 Lois became a founding Director and guiding light of the Gambier Conservancy at the time the Islands Trust was undertaking a review of the Official Community Plan.

It was an opportune time to work with the Trust by helping to provide detailed data on Gambier’s environment; data that was sadly lacking. Along with many others, Lois secured grant monies and dedicated herself to the Streamkeeper’s and stream mapping projects. This work resulted in more detailed maps of Gambier streams, watersheds and environmentally sensitive areas.

But community work, fraught with challenges, often put her at odds with others in spite of her high ideals. Lois never shied away from a fight! But she was optimistic and ready to take the initiative; Lois brought passion, dedication and a keen intellect to all her tasks. This continued after she relocated to Gibsons where she served on the executive of the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association, the Community Foundation, the Iris Griffiths Centre and the Water Summit. Lois continued to serve as a director of the Gambier Island Conservancy until 2007.

As a final way to serve her community, five charities in the lower mainland each received $100,000 from the Lois Kennedy estate--including the Islands Trust Fund. This Trust Fund bequest is to be used for the purchase, enhancement or maintenance of public trust lands, including parks and nature reserves on Gambier Island.

The Gambier Island Conservancy applauds Lois’s bequest
and welcomes donations or bequests to its land trust fund.
Tax receipts will be issued.

Opening ceremony, Mount Artaban Nature Reserve, 2009

At the peak of Mt Artaban, following the opening ceremony on 22 August 2009

Mount Artaban Nature Reserve:  a profile of a Special Place
Reprinted from Fall 2009 Islands Trust Fund Newsletter The Heron

Nature Reserve hikeUnder blue summer skies, the Mount Artaban Nature Reserve filled with pride as Gambier islanders gathered recently to celebrate the grand opening of the newly protected area. The ceremony was a landmark event for the community and the Gambier Island Conservancy, who led the funding campaign to protect the mountain.

"With many of the fundraising campaign's key contributors present, the grand opening was as much a tribute to the community's spirit and vision as it was a celebration of the natural legacy created by the protection of the mountain," said Christine Torgrimson, Chair of the Trust Fund Board. "Due to the outstanding generosity of private individuals, businesses, local governments and community groups, the permanent protection of Mount Artaban will forever be a reality. "

The highlight of the day's event was a hike to the mountain's summit. The celebrants, aged 11 months to more than 70 years, enthusiastically made the 614-metre climb to the top of Mount Artaban where stories were shared about the history of the mountain's protection. The demanding climb to the peak was a fitting way to commemorate the community's long journey to protect Mount Artaban.

For the Islands Trust Fund, the journey to preserve Mount Artaban doesn't end here. The habitats we protect depend on us to maintain them into the future. Mount Artaban Nature Reserve is home to old-growth trees, a wetland, several at-risk plant communities and a source of clean water for the surrounding community and aquatic habitats below. With the help of the community, the Islands Trust Fund recently completed a management plan for the property, which sets out the best methods to preserve these features for the future. The Islands Trust Fund is grateful to islanders for not only helping with acquisition campaigns on the islands, but also for the help and local knowledge they provide in the management of our properties. Together, we can work to ensure the ecosystem values we all worked so hard to protect will continue to delight generations to come, through effective stewardship and care.

Those interested in learning more about the management of the Mount Artaban Nature Reserve
can view the management plan online at:

Celebrate Mount Artaban Nature Reserve!

A site visit to Mount Artaban on April 11th, 2009.
Over 260 acres are permanently protected for future generations
by the Gambier Island Conservancy in partnership with the Islands Trust.

Management Plan for the Mount Artaban Nature Reserve
Public Consultation Meeting, 2009

The Islands Trust Fund contracted Doug Hopwood to complete a management plan for the Mount Artaban Nature Reserve. A consultation meeting regarding Mt. Artaban was held on January 24, 2009 at the Gleneagles Community Centre, including the general public. Members of the public, stakeholder groups and agencies are valued participants in this planning process. An abbreviated general meeting of the Gambier Island Conservancy followed.

There was a site visit to Mount Artaban on April 11th, 2009. Over 260 acres will be permanently protected for future generations by the Gambier Island Conservancy in partnership with the Islands Trust.

The Islands Trust website has a copy of the Mount Artaban Nature Reserve Management Plan for viewing:

Left to right: Doug Hopwood, Kate Emmings, Wendy Graham, Wolf Wiedemann, Peter Scholefield, Maria Van Dyk.
(photo by Jan Hagedorn)

The donor plaque is now located at the Gambier Community Centre in New Brighton.

Click Here for a larger [PDF] version.

Mount Artaban Nature Reserve
part of Gambier Island's first protected-area network

View from Mount Artaban north towards Whistler
(photo by P.Scholefield)
Gambier Island’s Mt. Artaban is noted for its significant natural values, its challenging hikes and its awe-inspiring views. The prospect of protecting this special place has finally been realized. At the end of May 2008, Gambier Island’s first protected area network came into being with the transfer of 107 hectares from the Province of British Columbia to the Islands Trust Fund through the provincial Free Crown Grant program.Old-growth Douglas Fir The new Mount Artaban
Nature Reserve, when combined with neighbouring local, regional and provincial parks, creates a continuous protected area of 525 hectares – 25% larger than Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

Visible from the Sea-to-Sky Highway, the Mount Artaban Nature Reserve protects old-growth trees, a wetland, and several at-risk plant communities. The water flowing from this pristine mountain provides clean drinking water for the surrounding communities and feeds aquatic habitats below. Bald eagles are often seen in the skies above the new reserve, and Steller’s Jays, Rufous Hummingbirds and Blue Grouse inhabit the forest.

The new Mount Artaban Nature Reserve and adjoining protected areas offer an exhilarating hiking experience. Island residents and visitors can enjoy trails that extend from the head of Long Bay and the Brigade Bay waterfronts to Mount Artaban’s peak. The trail system also extends south through the Halkett Bay Provincial Marine Park and can be accessed from the landing dock at the Marine Park or from the Halkett Bay government dock at Camp Fircom.

To satisfy the province’s conditions for the transfer, the Gambier Island Conservancy partnered with the Islands Trust Fund to fundraise over $40,000 to cover the costs of the land survey and a management plan. In addition to the support of the Islands Trust Fund, the Gambier Island Conservancy, the Sunshine Coast Regional District, and the Squamish Nation, over 80 contributions were made by private individuals, businesses and community groups.

The Islands Trust Fund and the Gambier Island Conservancy will work with the Gambier Island community to develop a management plan for the property. This plan will define short and long-term management goals for this new nature reserve, including public access. As one of Howe Sound’s most notable landmarks, this highly visible and environmentally important section of Gambier Island’s Crown Land will remain protected for future generations.

View from Mount Artaban east towards the Sea-to-Sky Highway
(photo by P.Scholefield)

Mount Artaban Nature Reserve Fundraising
a Huge Success!

The Gambier Island Conservancy's fundraising project to cover the expenses related to the free crown land grant from the Province of BC has been a huge success. The goal to raise $42,000 was met and by the end of November, 2007 was exceeded by $5,250. Many in-kind contributions helped keep costs down.

The funds raised are being used by the Islands Trust Fund to cover the cost of the required land survey and the development of a management plan for the reserve area. Excess funds will go toward maintenance expenses of the nature reserve.

The Land Survey of this 107-hectare parcel of land was completed by Penonzek Land Surveyors in October at a cost of $29,180. The survey has been accepted by the Land Title & Survey Authority of British Columbia.

With the acceptance of the survey, Islands Trust can now initiate the land transfer from the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands to the Islands Trust Fund. The Islands Trust Fund will oversee the creation of a management plan for the Mount Artaban Nature Reserve. This plan will be drawn up with public consultation and will address issues such as environmental protection, access, on-going maintenance and monitoring of the area.

The Islands Trust Council selected the Gambier Island Conservancy for a 2007 Community Stewardship Award in recognition of its fundraising to acquire and protect the Mount Artaban Nature Reserve.

A very heartfelt "thank-you" to the many individuals, associations, corporations, foundations and governments who made this effort such a success. In total, the Gambier Island Conservancy received 91 donations.

A special vote of thanks to Glen and Kathleen Hafey for organizing a fundraising concert featuring Shane Philips as guest performer during summer 2007. This concert made a significant contribution to the Mount Artaban Reserve.

Association Donors:
Gambier Island Community Association, Gambier Island Conservancy. and the Halkett Bay Owners Association.

Corporate Donors:
Fraser River Mechanical Inc., Howe Sound Pulp and Paper, Pacific Works Diving Ltd,
Penonzek Land Surveyors Ltd, and Sewell's Landing Inc.,

with donations-in-kind coming from Gambier Island Water Taxi, Jim Green, and Rick Gustavson.

Foundation Donors:
Harry A. & Rose Getz Foundation, Joan Ford Charitable Foundation, and Sunshine Coast Community Foundation.

Government Donors:
Islands Trust and Sunshine Coast Regional District.

A commemorative plaque with donor names and a map is currently being designed and will hang in the Gambier Island Community Centre at New Brighton. It is planned to post copies of this plaque outdoors at community access points in the vicinity of the nature reserve.

A few years ago, the Gambier Island Conservancy created a Land Trust Fund specifically for acquisition of property for conservation.

Donations and bequests to the Gambier Island Conservancy are gratefully received and added to this fund.

For more information, call Peter Scholefield at 604-913-9090 or Maria Van Dyk at 604-886-8901.

Stewardship Award for
Mt Artaban Nature Reserve

The Islands Trust Council has selected the Gambier Island Conservancy for a Community Stewardship Award in recognition of its fundraising to acquire and protect Mount Artaban as a nature reserve. The award in the group category will be presented at a Gambier Island local trust committee meeting later this year.

The Island-wide response to this project has been truly inspiring with significant contributions from many private individuals, businesses, governments and community groups. The Gambier Island Conservancy wishes to thank everyone for their generous donations and in-kind contributions. It is planned to place a commemorative plaque of donor names in the Gambier Island Community Centre excluding those who wish to remain anonymous.

To date, the Gambier Island Conservancy has raised more than $42,000 towards the protection of Mount Artaban. The money raised so far will pay for a management plan and a Land Act survey which are necessary to create the new nature reserve.

The 107-hectare parcel of crown land on the north east side of Mt Artaban including the summit has been offered to the Islands Trust as a free crown grant from the Province of BC and is valued at 1.2 million dollars. This planned reserve adjoins several other parks and reserve areas that together create a contiguous protected area of 525 hectares, - 25% larger than Stanley Park. With this land protected, it will form the first protected area network on the Island that crosses the full range of habitats, from shore up to mountain peak and back down to wetlands.

A condition of the transfer of land is that a Land Act Survey be registered by August 2007 and that it be held as a nature reserve. The survey is costly due to the remote location and extremely rugged terrain. Penonsek Land Surveyors Ltd were selected as the surveyors and started the groundwork on June 11.

In addition to the survey, funds were raised to provide a management plan to protect the environment and the public. This plan will address the on going maintenance issues and monitoring of the area. The Gambier Island Conservancy plans to continue to fundraise for improvements at the property such as trail repair and signage.

Project to Secure the
Mount Artaban Nature Reserve


The Gambier Island Conservancy has helped select a major part of Mount Artaban Crown land for protection. The Islands Trust Fund has successfully applied for the land, valued at $1.2 M, from the Province of B.C. for a nature reserve. Now the Conservancy is seeking at least $30,000 in donations towards the costs required to complete the acquisition, improve safety and access to the land, and institute the terms of protection.

The condition of the transfer of land is that a Land Act Survey be registered by August 2007 and that it be established as a nature reserve. A management plan is vital to ensure the nature reserve is maintained as a conservation area. Donated funds will be allocated to the following tasks: a Land Act survey and a management plan must be completed in 2007.

A professional biologist, after consultation with user groups, will author a plan to guide conservation, access, and use of the nature reserve. This plan is vital to meet the "nature reserve" requirement of the offer and to protect public safety. Trail improvements and signage will be made to allow better public access.

For further information, please contact Peter Scholefield, President of the Gambier Island Conservancy, 604-913-9090, You may also contact the IslandsTrust Fund at (250) 405-5186 (Toll free via Enquiry BC at 1-800-663-7867 or 604-660-2421 in the Lower Mainland), or email -

Click here for our Membership Form

107 Hectare Free Crown Land
Nature Reserve on Gambier?

The Islands Trust Fund Board in Victoria has applied to the Provincial Government for a free Crown grant on Gambier for the purpose of creating a nature reserve. After public consultation the Trust has identified a 107 hectare parcel on the east-facing slope of Mount Artaban in its proposal. This area would create a network of protected areas connecting the existing Marine Park at Halkett Bay, the Trust Fund Board's Long Bay Wetland - Nature Reserve and the adjacent SCRD regional park at Brigade Bay.

There are, however, no guarantees that this application will be approved, as it travels through the many layers of authority. The decision to proceed with this free crown grant is expected on or before June 27, 2006.

Although no money exchanges hands for the actual land in the Free Crown Grant program, the receiving agency is required to pay for the cost of surveying the property within 90 days of accepting the offer and the subsequent development of a management plan for the nature reserve. Islands Trust has begun consulting with the community on a fund raising initiative to cover the expected costs involved.

The Gambier Island Conservancy has expressed support for this land grant and will assist the Trust Fund in the fund raising once the offer of the land is received. All donations will be tax receipted.

This important initiative will preserve a significant piece of our community. More to come!

Gambier Island Conservancy Creates Land Trust Fund

The Gambier Island Conservancy (GIC) has recently created a Land Trust Fund for the specific purpose of acquiring land for conservation. It has become clear to many nature preservation organizations that the most effective and permanent way to protect special or sensitive areas is through the purchase of land or the receipt of land by donation.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Islands Trust Fund are excellent examples of this.

The GIC has received permission from Revenue Canada to accumulate funds in excess of the amounts normally allowed by registered charities and from the provincial government to hold land covenants in partnership with private individuals and/or public agencies.

The Conservancy is now capable of establishing a land acquisition Trust Fund specifically for the purchase and/or acquisition of property for conservation. Although no specific parcels of land have been identified as yet this is a long-term project that will position the Conservancy well in the future. Such acquisitions projects usually involve several partners with various levels of government matching community/private contributions.

This is an important beginning. The Gambier Island Conservancy gratefully acknowledges the support it has received from so many individuals who believe this Island is a very special place and encourage you to participate through the contribution of funds or land. For further information please contact Peter Scholefield, President of the Gambier Island Conservancy, 604-913-9090,

More Events and Projects
Nature Reserves  |  Streamkeepers and Mapping Project
Marking Trails  |  Environmentally Sensitive Areas Study

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