Cortes Island’s newest Conservation Covenant

On October 4th, the Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC) announced a 16.5-acre conservation covenant linking Hank’s Beach Forest Conservation Park to Poison Cove.

“If we don’t protect our intact forests and the mother trees and the interconnectivity of our natural systems, we’re actually existentialist threats. Two years ago scientists were telling me there were 10 years to make a big change, so maybe there is eight years, but it’s dire, it’s important and there are a lot of people with holdings who care deeply about protecting ecosystems, wildlife fauna and flora,” explained Cathy Armstrong, Executive Director of the TLC.

Screenshot of Cathy Armstrong, Executive Director of the TLC, taken during interview

She  believes this may be the 10th family that made covenants on Cortes Island. 

(In the podcast Armstrong also mentions properties adjoining Whaletown Commons.)

Most of these covenants came into being through the assistance of local biologist Sabina Leader-Mense.

“She really works hard to identify properties where the ecological values, the ecosystem protection, and wildlife corridors exist. Over the years, we have been slowly adding those properties. She has meetings with landowners, explains what the process is and then we’ll come in and walk the property with the landowners,” said Armstrong.    

In the associated TLC press release, the owners of Cortes Island’s newest covenant property said, “The reality is that many ecologically important areas like ours would be lost to future development were it not for the existence of The Land Conservancy of B.C.”

This property, within the traditional lands of the Klahoose and Tla’amin First Nations,  is a multi-aged forest, a significant wildlife corridor and home to seventeen species or ecological communities at risk. 

Blue-listed Band-tailed Pigeon, Barn Swallow, Great Blue Heron, Northern Red-legged Frog, and Wallace’s Selaginella/Reindeer Lichens are on the property. Columbian Black-tailed Deer, Gray Wolf, and Cougar pass through here. 

Armstrong explained that TLC is a provincial land trust, with 245 covenants through-out British Columbia. 

“We’re a registered charity supported by members and donors. We are not a government body, so no tax dollars come to us,” she said. 

When the situation warrants, TLC sometimes purchases the properties it seeks to protect. 

“We encourage private landowners to think about conservation covenants because they are less expensive, protect the land and do not transfer the title,” said Armstrong. 

She added that conservation covenants delineate both buildable areas, where the owners can make any changes they desire (like a new house), and protected areas where the intact ecosystem is preserved.

People wishing to find out more about the TLC are encouraged to visit their website.  

For general information or inquiries please email TLC at

For information about TLC Membership, donations, and other support options, please call 1-877-485-2422 or email

Top photo credit: courtesy the TLC press release “New Conservation Covenant protests ecologically diverse habitat and contributes to protected landscape network on southern Cortes Island.”

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