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Friends of Cottonwood Lake ‘thrilled’ at property transfer

A man who spearheaded the campaign to save private property around Cottonwood Lake from logging says he’s “pretty thrilled” the property is now being transferred to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

“We’re really pleased to be partners with that great group and couldn’t have had a better outcome,” says Andrew MacBurney of the Friends of Cottonwood Lake.

“I had a built-in sense of optimism because it just felt so correct. But of course there were times we felt what the heck, this isn’t going to work. But we were always thrown a life line at the last minute. It worked out the way it was supposed to.”

The Regional District of Central Kootenay and Columbia Basin Trust put up $450,000 to buy the first 21 hectares, and the group raised another $650,000 for the remaining 49 hectares. The transfer to the Nature Conservancy is expected to be completed within the next few weeks.

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MacBurney says he developed an appreciation for how well Cottonwood Lake Provincial Park was when he spent a summer building a picnic shelter there. When he learned that the area around the lake was slated for logging, he gathered a group of like-minded people to see what they could do.

“It felt right. The community showed that in the first meeting we had at the rod and gun club. The turnout was incredible. That showed us this was the right path.”

MacBurney says he has since learned that other groups in BC, Ontario, and Quebec have done similar things to preserve private land for public use, and they’re happy to talk to anyone else with a similar project.

However, with the land’s transfer, he says the society’s work is nearly done. They will work with the Nature Conservancy on a donor recognition kiosk at the park and are hoping to have a celebration in the summer.

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