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Howe Sound Gambier Island Conservancy is dedicated to:
  • developing appropriate management strategies to preserve and restore Gambier's biological diversity, and
  • enhancing and sharing knowledge of its ecosystems.

Gambier Island Conservancy Easter 2018 update

• Organization Structure and Governance:
The law firm, Gowling WLG, that Director, Peter Snell, works for has kindly offered to provide us in April
with proposed changes to our constitution and bylawsalong with guidance on transitioning to the new
Societies Act which must be completed this year.

• Fund Raising:
Treasurer, Boris Gorgitza, reported about $500 in donations this past year. We
discussed, agreed to help, and will follow-up on a verbal request from the recently formed Subsea
Society of Howe Sound to administer donated funds for two marine projects which are just off the coast
of Gambier Island. One project is to create a new Howe Sound Rockfish Conservation Zone off the
coast of Brigade Bay. A mooring buoy has already ready been set up in the area. The other project is to
prepare a management plan for the designated marine extension of the Halkett Bay Marine Park.

• Nature Reserve Work Party on 7 April:
Forester consultant, Doug Hopwood, will again lead the tree
planting work, this year as a volunteer. It is planned to depart from Horseshoe Bay at 8:00 am and be
picked up for the return trip from Brigade Bay at 3:30 pm. Water taxi transportation and lunch will be
provided to volunteers. Please contact me if you are interested in volunteering.

• Trails and Trail Map:
We all agreed that we should try to get some type of updated trail map
information ready and made available in time for the upcoming hiking season. Director, Tim Turner, has
offered to help get GPS data from trails in the northern part of the island using our Garmin GPS unit. A
hiker sent us an offer to this email address to take GPS reading on some of our trails. We would
welcome any other offers to provide us GPS readings from our trail network. This will help us prepare a
more accurate and up-to-date trail map.

• A Pilot Adaptive Research and Management Program for Salmonid Enhancement in Tributaries
of Howe Sound & Burrard Inlet:
In response to an invitation from the Pacific Science Enterprise
Center (PSEC), Streamkeeper & DFO Citizen Science Program, Director, Mike Stamford, has agreed to
attend the initial meeting. This pilot project could include identifying and mapping all tributaries to Howe
Sound and those streams known to have salmonid populations. Much of this information is already
available for Gambier Island as a result of the streamkeeper project led by previous Conservancy
director, Lois Kennedy.

• Possible New Park on Gambier Island:
We have learned that the David Suzuki Foundation is
undertaking a feasibility study for a national park and that the possibility of a new provincial park is
being considered by the BC Parks Foundation. We hope to be able to provide more details at our AGM.

• Upcoming events:

1. April 10 – Director, Kathy McTaggart and myself will be participating in a Howe Sound Marine
Conservation Workshop to be held at the Bayshore Inn in Vancouver.

2. May 4 – I will be attending the Howe Sound Community Forum at Furry Creek which is being
hosted by the Squamish Lillooet Regional District.

3. June 21 – The Annual General meeting (AGM) of the Conservancy will be held at the
Gleneagles Community Centre, in West Vancouver. We hope to have a guest speaker.

4. July/August – We are planning to hold an event at New Brighton sometime during the summer
which will include a special guest speaker and possibly a hike.

Gambier Island Conservancy Year-end Update 2017

2017 AGM:
• It was held on 13 June at the Gleneagles Community Centre and featured two guest speakers.
Stephen Foster from the David Suzuki Foundation gave an update on the proposal for a Feasibility
Study for a National Park on Gambier Island. He said that he was pleased with the response from
those who attended public meetings in West Vancouver and at New Brighton on Gambier Island. A
letter of support was sent by our MP to the federal minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
The minister’s response in September basically stated that a feasibility study is not a priority in the
Howe Sound region at this time, as the federal government is awaiting the results of Pathway to
Canada Target 1 recommendations that should available in March 2018. The Squamish Nation seems
interested in a feasibility study and the critical support of the provincial government is now being
sought. Unfortunately, Stephen suffered a serious stroke in mid October and we don’t know how this
will affect progress on the initiative.

• Birgitta Von Krosigk briefed us on the initiative for a Howe Sound UNESCO Biosphere Region
designation. The Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative Society is now Incorporated under the BC
Societies Act and they have a website at: The AGM adopted a
resolution to send letters of support for both of these initiatives which was done in August. There was
discussion but no final decision at the AGM about transitioning to the new Societies Act and adopting a
new constitution and bylaws.

• A Task Group comprised of Peter Snell and Ruth Simons was established to look into what the
Conservancy might suggest be done with the bequest of former director Lois Kennedy’ to the Islands
Trust Fund. Lois died on 3 April 2010. The $100,000 bequest (now approximately $116,800) is to be
used for the purchase, enhancement or maintenance of public trust lands, including parks and nature
reserves on Gambier Island.

• The existing slate of directors was elected to continue for 2017/18: Boris Boris Gorgitza, Kathy McTaggart,
Peter Scholefield, Peter Snell, Mike Stamford and Tim Turner.

Very little trail maintenance was done in the past year, but some posts and temporary signs were
installed on the trail from the SW peninsula up to Gambier Lake. In February, we purchased a Garmin GPS unit
and used it at the end of the month to record way points on the trail from Camp Artaban to Brigade Bay and to
Lost Lake. Ian Roxburgh from the Sea Ranch has provided us with GPS readings for the trail up to and beyond
Lost Lake to Gambier Creek just east of Gambier Lake.

Future of Howe Sound:
• The Conservancy is one of the coalition partners with the Future of Howe Sound Society promoting a
renewable, sustainable Howe Sound. I attended, as an observer, two meetings of the Howe Sound
Community Forum this year, one at Lions Bay on 5 May 2017 and the other at YMCA Camp
Elphinstone on 13 October. The Forum is comprised of elected officials from all of the communities that
have jurisdiction over the land areas adjacent to Howe Sound. At both meetings, there were
presentations on a proposal to have Howe Sound designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Region with a
project video featured at Camp Elphinstone ( At
this October meeting, our Trustee, Kate-Louise Stamford, announced the formation of an Ocean Watch
Task Force – Howe Sound. She is co-chairing this group of local government representatives, staff and
NGO representatives to develop appropriate policy actions arising from the recommendations in the
Ocean Watch – Howe Sound edition published by the Coastal Ocean Research Institute.

• On 3 October, I was at the Cheakamus Centre in Brackendale to meet with representatives from 11
conservation organizations from around Howe Sound. The purpose of the meeting was to learn more
about the Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative and to share thoughts on the future of conservationOn 3 October, I was at the Cheakamus Centre in Brackendale to meet with representatives from 11 conservation organizations from around Howe Sound. The purpose of the meeting was to learn more
about the Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative and to share thoughts on the future of conservation
work in Howe Sound.

Nature Reserves:
• As they did in 2015, the Islands Trust Fund made funds available for restoration work on their nature
reserves on Gambier Island. On 25 February, I organized a work party to plant trees in the Long Bay
Wetland and Brigade Bay Bluffs Nature Reserves. Islands Trust Fund consultant forester, Doug
Hopwood led the work party which included myself and 7 other volunteers. Two of the volunteers were
participants in the 2016 Camp Suzuki adult camp.

Nature reserve work

On 13 May, I accompanied Doug Hopwood, Peter Klassen from the Brigade Bay subdivision, Ian and
Vivian Roxburgh from the Sea Ranch and Paul Zaleski from the Fircom Plateau subdivision on the
annual monitoring of the three Islands Trust Fund nature reserves. We were pleased to see significant
new growth on the trees that we had planted in February and on those that we had protected with
screening during the 2015 work party.

Gambier Island OCP Review:
The Conservancy is well represented with three of the five members on the
Advisory Planning Commission (APC). The APC is to provide advice to the Gambier Island Local Trust
Committee with regard to its review and update of the Gambier Island Official Community Plan (OCP).
Conservancy members, Ruth Simons, Boris Gorgitza and myself participated in two meetings that were held
earlier this year at the community centre in New Brighton. At these two meetings, we addressed the referral to
the APC to review Economic Development and Livability Policies in the current OCP and suggest questions for
further public consultation. The next meeting of the APC is planned for 18 December.

Gambier Island OCP Conservation Mapping:
On 1 May, I participated in Regional Conservation Plan
Workshop for the Islands Trust Fund which was held in Nanaimo. It was there that I learned about the Gambier
Island OCP Conservation Mapping project. The Gambier Island Local Trust Committee (LTC) and the Coastal
Douglas-fir and Associated Ecosystems Conservation Partnership (CDFCP) partnered in October 2016 to
develop ecological mapping for possible use by the LTC in its Official Community Plan (OCP) review. The
mapping identifies priority conservation areas and priority watersheds. A first draft of the mapping has been
made available. With feedback, the mapping will be refined and the CDFCP will work with the Gambier Island
Planner to provide options for integration into the Gambier Island OCP.

2016 involvement with the Howe Sound Forum

The Conservancy is one of the coalition partners with the Future of Howe Sound Society promoting a renewable, sustainable Howe Sound. In this capacity, the Conservancy attended, as an observer, two meetings of the Howe Sound Community Forum, one at Camp Fircom on 29 April and more recently on 14 October, 2016 at the Gleneagles Golf Clubhouse in West Vancouver. The Forum is comprised of elected officials from all of the communities that have jurisdiction over the land areas adjacent to Howe Sound. The April meeting was hosted by the Gambier Island Local Trust Committee and the October meeting by West Vancouver.

At the October meeting, there was a group presentation led by Ruth Simons, Conservancy member and executive director of the Future of Howe Sound Society, proposing a Howe Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It was well received by the Forum members. There was also a report on the Sunshine Coast Fixed Link Feasibility Study and an announcement on plans to conduct public open houses this fall. None of the three possible route options being studied will touch Gambier Island. Stephen Foster from the David Suzuki Foundation informed the group about a proposal to approach Parks Canada about the possibility of them conducting a feasibility study on developing a national park on Gambier Island. Stephen has participated in discussions with the United Church of Canada about the involvement of Camp Fircom in a national park.

Summer, 2016--The Conservancy at Camp Suzuki, Camp Fircom, Gambier

Camp Suzuki 2016

The Conservancy significantly expanded its involvement in Camp Suzuki at Camp Fircom this past summer. In August 2015, we were invited to participate in the last day of the first Camp Suzuki. This gave us an opportunity to introduce the young adult participants to the Conservancy and suggest some volunteer projects that might be of interest to them. There were some follow-up inquiries after the camp, but none materialized into volunteer work for the Conservancy.

This year, the Conservancy was invited to participate in the planning of an expanded Camp Suzuki, consisting of a young adult camp and youth camp. Boris Gorgitza, the Conservancy's treasurer and one of its two trail coordinators, participated in a Camp Suzuki planning meeting held in Horseshoe Bay on 11 June. This resulted in the Conservancy committing to involvement in the programs at each of the two camps.

On Monday, 8 August, Boris and Peter Scholefield were transported to the adult camp on a 6 pm water taxi from Horseshoe Bay accompanied by Squamish Nation Chiefs Ian Campbell and Bill Williams. The chiefs were part of a Squamish Nation contingent going to the camp to conduct a First Nations day on Tuesday. For this occasion, they towed a war canoe behind the water taxi.

After supper, Boris and Peter talked to the adult campers about the Conservancy and some possible volunteer opportunities. Following the presentations, the group was taken on short hike from the camp up to the junction of the trail leading to the Halkett Bay Marine Park and Mt Artaban. They carried up supplies and together installed a trail sign post at the junction. An 8-inch diameter Sonotube was installed into a 2.5 foot hole along with a 6 ft length of 4x4 treated wood post. The post was secured inside the Sonotube by pouring in a liquid expanding foam mixture designed for this purpose. About two weeks later, existing signs were mounted onto the post.

On Thursday morning, 18 August, Boris and Peter returned to the camp and joined about 50 youth for breakfast. After breakfast, a group of about 20 campers was led on a hike on the trail from the camp to the Halkett Bay Marine Park. En route, the campers were entertained with some frisbee golf. Boris and Peter wrote conservation questions on the back of about 20 paper dinner plates. At various intervals along the whole route, they stopped to nail a plate to a tree and campers tried to hit the plate with a frisbee. The camper that first hit the plate got to remove it and read the question on the back for others to try to answer. The campers also nailed aluminum white-coded trail markers into trees along the route. Upon reaching the destination at the Halkett Viewing Bluffs, the following group photo was taken overlooking Halkett Bay:

Boris and Peter found this a worthwhile experience in educating campers about the Conservancy, Gambier Island and its environment. Hopefully, some of the participants will volunteer to work on the trail network.

Spring, 2016 work in the nature reserves

Peter Scholefield and Doug Hopwood at the Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve

On 28 May, Peter Scholefield accompanied Islands Trust Fund consultant forester, Doug Hopwood, and Peter Klassen from the Brigade Bay subdivision on the annual monitoring of the three Islands Trust Fund nature reserves. A good number, but not all, of the young trees that had been encircled with protective screening last year had survived the very dry conditions of the previous summer. Another nature boundary sign was installed at the border between the Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve and the Sea Ranch.

March, 2015

First project this spring was a weekend of tree-protection work for the Brigade Bay Wetlands Nature Reserve. Keen volunteers came out on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14.

In the words of our president, Peter Scholefield:

departed Horseshoe Bay by Mercury water taxi at 0800 and arrived at the Brigade Bay marina at 0830. We were met at the Brigade Bay marina and transported to the gravel pit located at the northeast corner of the Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve. The group departed the marina on a Mercury water taxi for Horseshoe Bay just before 1530. 

Following the advice of Doug Hopwood, we concentrated our tree protection efforts on small cedar trees which are the coniferous trees most susceptible to being browsed by deer. We staked 28 trees in the gravel pit, which included re-staking a couple of the originally staked trees that needed to be re-done.

After leaving the gravel pit, we headed south along the subdivision road to the path/road leading west through the nature reserve to the Sea Ranch. We searched for cedar trees and found most of them in the nature reserve to the south of the road and staked about 20 trees in this area.

Next, we moved south along the subdivision road looking for cedar trees to the west ...and then stopped to clear alder trees along the first 10-15 m of the trail in from the subdivision road ...This completed our tree staking. We used four of the six 50 ft rolls of stucco wire to stake an estimated 55 - 60 trees in total.

Our last work site was at the well-signed trail head to the Mt Artaban Trail, located at the extreme south end of the nature reserve, adjacent to the subdivision road. Here we cleared young alder trees that were obscuring the signs and entrance to the trail."

Thanks to everyone who came out! Contact us if you would like to participate in future workparties. We have a lot of fun!

Loading supplies at Brigade Bay private marina

Caging trees, nature reserve

Work party at Mt. Artaban trail head

Year's end, 2014

Please consider a year-end donation to the Gambier Island Conservancy to support
our trails network and work to preserve and restore Gambier's biological diversity!

We happily issue charitable tax receipts for donations of $20 or more. 

November 5, 2014  

Fantastic News!

This came in on November 5, with no warning...

"The Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has decided to decline to accept a winning applicant in the recent tendering of two woodlots on Gambier Island in order for the Province of British Columbia to address community concerns and undertake further consultations with the Squamish Nation consistent with the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. BC (Tsilhqot’in decision).  On June 26, 2014, several months after the woodlots were tendered but prior to the selection decision, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered its decision in this case which provided greater clarity both on Aboriginal title and the Province’s responsibilities in relation to both established and asserted Aboriginal title.  In reviewing the consultation record for the two Woodlot Licence areas, the Minister concluded that more work needs to be done to ensure that the Province properly carries out its constitutional obligations consistent with this new direction, as well as to address the public interest." 

Stay tuned for updates...

A thousand thank-you's to all of you who wrote letters, sent emails,
attended meetings, and otherwise fought for

the Wild Heart of Gambier Island!

Thanks, too, to the

Squamish Nation

and some of  the many groups who came out and supported us:

Future of Howe Sound

Wilderness Committee

Save Howe Sound

Sustainable Howe Sound

David Suzuki Foundation  

as well as our two local governments:

Sunshine Coast Regional District

The Islands Trust: Gambier Island Local Trust Area

...and see the reminder from Bob Turner--our film-maker--below,
about why this is so important

"...yesterday was a most remarkable day moving through a landscape that has few equals in the Vancouver region or beyond. The possibility that this sanctuary of the spirit--the wildest, most solitude- and silence-rich corner of Howe Sound--would be invaded and compromised is more than my heart can handle. I have spent the better part of 20 years exploring its hidden treasure with family, friends, students, and, at times, solo, and there simply must be another future for this most magical place. This is the wild heart of, not just Gambier Island, but Howe Sound itself."         (Tim Turner, Sunshine Coast Sea-to-Sky Outdoor School)

...and this just in...

The Ministry of Forests, itself, working through its second mandate as the ministry responsible for recreation, is completing a marine network of kayaking sites through Howe Sound...

 Sea to Sky Marine Trail Concept Plan

            Sea to Sky Marine Trail Network
                                                                                                Map by Gordon McKeever, Project Manager, Sea to Sky Trail

                                                                                                                                                    Graphic courtesy of Tim Turner

Background on the woodlot proposal

Ministry of Forests plans to allow clearcutting northeast Gambier after offering new woodlot opportunities...

Proposed Woodlots to be clearcut The aqua and pale green areas on the map to the left have been advertised "for offer" by the Ministry of Forests (FLNRO) and six bids have been received for each woodlot. If this project is not cancelled, the successful bidders will each receive a long-term opportunity to harvest timber from one of the woodlots, paying minimal stumpage to the province. Woodlots are a long-term forestry tenure--being allotted for an initial 20 years, and with 10-year renewals after that almost guaranteed if the operator wishes to continue.

The Gambier Conservancy had an opportunity to discuss prescreened questions with FLNRO in July of 2013. See these questions answered by FLNRO after the meeting with the Gambier Conservancy:

Woodlot QandAs

Hiker at lake

For more information about Howe Sound and its amazing come-back, follow this link to...

The Gambier Island Conservancy is a small, local group working to protect Gambier's wilderness areas. We are a registered charitable organization and our work is funded almost entirely through donations.  Our campaign to preserve Gambier's
Crown land for a legislatively protected area through southern Howe Sound needs your help!

We happily issue charitable tax receipts for donations of $20 or more. 

Membership in the Gambier Island Conservancy supports its mission: to preserve and restore Gambier's biological diversity, and enhance and share knowledge of its ecosystems. Membership also supports the development and ongoing maintenance of the extensive trail system on the island's Crown land. This winter's project is a revised edition of our popular trail map.

You are invited to join us in the Gambier Island Conservancy...

Length of Membership

As always, for more information on membership and volunteer opportunities contact