After more than 50 years of caring for the forests and wetlands on their property at the north end on Slocan Lake, the Alvarez family has donating the land to the Nature Conservancy of Canada to ensure its permanent conservation.
According to a news release from the Nature Conservancy, the five-hectare parcel includes a significant portion of the ecologically important wetland complex known as Bonanza Marsh. The wetland supports a diversity of wildlife and sensitive ecosystems and plays an essential role in maintaining water quality in the lake, they said.
“It would be hard to overstate the value of this land from a conservation perspective,” said Richard Klafki, Canadian Rockies program manager for the Nature Conservancy in the statement.
“The commitment shown by the Alvarez family to this land for more than half a century is amazing, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada is honoured that they have entrusted their legacy to our care.”
Straddling the mouth of Bonanza Creek, the new conservation area builds on other efforts to protect the entire Bonanza Marsh wetland. The donated property encompasses the lakeshore portion of the marsh. The property also borders the Snk’mip Marsh Sanctuary, which protects the upper reaches of the marsh complex.
This land plays a critical role in conserving the overall health and resiliency of the wetland system, according to the Nature Conservancy. The area includes spawning grounds for kokanee salmon and other fish, and nesting and feeding habitat for migratory and resident birds.
It forms part of a wildlife corridor for grizzly bear, moose, elk and other animals. Species listed on the federal Species at Risk Act observed on the property include grizzly bear, little brown myotis, and western toad.
The Alvarez family has owned and cared for the Bonanza Marsh property since the early 1960s, with each new generation supporting the original vision of protecting the wetland from development and nurturing its natural features. Transferring the land to the Nature Conservancy fulfills the family’s inter-generational promise to protect the land and secures its conservation future, the statement said.
“When our parents, Arthur and Marguerite, bought the ‘swamp’ property in the early 1960s, they wanted to ensure that it remained unspoiled and undeveloped,” said Henri Alvarez.
“Three generations of the Alvarez family have worked to keep it in a natural state, and we feel that our decision to donate that land to the Nature Conservancy of Canada is the best way to ensure that this remains the case in perpetuity.”
A portion of this project was donated under the federal government’s ecological gifts program which provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land.
The transfer of the land has been in the works for more than a decade.