British Columbia

Crowdfunding campaign raises $3 million to protect Princess Louisa Inlet property

The B.C. Parks Foundation was able to raise the money to buy 800 hectares in Princess Louisa Inlet from a private seller.

'We'll do our best to make sure that that area stays protected forever,' says B.C. Parks Foundation CEO

Andrew Day, CEO of the B.C. Parks Foundation, gazes up the steep granite cliffs enclosing Princess Louisa Inlet. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

The fundraising campaign to buy a swath of remote coastal wilderness on the Sunshine Coast has been a success.

The B.C. Parks Foundation, an independent charity that works with B.C. Parks, was able to raise $3 million to buy 800 hectares in Princess Louisa Inlet from a private seller. The inlet is about 100 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.

The last amount of the money needed came in at the last minute, right on Tuesday's deadline. 

B.C. Parks Foundation CEO Andrew Day says this will be one of the first crowdfunded protected parks in the country. 

"It's just an amazing, amazing thing that people have done," he said. 

"It was so many people who gave us $10 or $15 and said, 'This is all I can do, but this is a wonderful thing that you're doing.'"

Chatterbox Falls marks the end of Princess Louisa Inlet. During the spring melt, the thunderous falls are especially dramatic. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

The sale will not be final until Sept. 3, but Day says he does not expect anything to stand in the way. 

"We knew that there had been a couple offers from forestry companies to buy that property and that's why we got involved in the first place," he said. 

Day has previously said the B.C. Parks Foundation wants to keep the land from being logged and developed.  

"It's really a huge portion of the inlet and we'll do our best to make sure that that area stays protected forever," Day said.

A section at the head of the inlet is set aside as a provincial marine park, but the B.C. Parks Foundation wants to dramatically increase to size of the provincial park. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

He says the foundation will work with the Sechelt Nation and the provincial government to sort out the details for the stunning, rugged piece of wilderness. Then, the work begins. 

The foundation's long-term plan for the property is to bundle the 800 hectares with surrounding Crown land, parks, and land set aside for conservation to create a massive 9,000-hectare provincial park around the entire inlet.

With files from Rafferty Baker

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