In the quiet woods of Otter Point, a special meeting was taking place – nothing out of the ordinary – but one which could have significant ramifications on the local environment.
It was the annual general meeting of the Juan de Fuca Land Trust Society, an organization dedicated to preserving specific parts of the local rainforest, notably the Muir Creek watershed, west of Sooke.
“All these lands are so much in flux and at risk,” said Margot Swinburson, one of the organization’s founding members and current president, in regards to this year’s significant change of pace in terms of rural development and environmental impact.
She pointed out that one of her biggest concerns in the Otter Point area is that there aren’t any usable parks for the community.
“If we don’t apply pressure and have any active groups, then we won’t have anything,” she said. “We’re trying to stake that hold into creating space for us to be able to leave a legacy for our children.”
While much of the Muir Creek expanse is owned by the Timber West logging company, the area also includes a public beach destination. The watershed itself extends up to 120 kilometres.
One of the areas in question is the Admiral’s Forest, as the land trust calls it, named after Admiral John Charles, who, before he died in 2010, had owned around 55 hectares of land, half of which was owned by his son.
The area, located at Otter Point, features numerous and unique trails through wild bush, however the property is now privately-owned, cutting off any public access.
The JDF Land Trust Society almost bought the property, but were just short of the needed deadline.
This year, one of the main goals for the group is to help recover some Muir Creek land back from its current owner Timber West.
To get the word out and bring the idea of recovering green space back into public view, up to $2,500 was donated by a benefactor last month.
The funds will go towards the Capital Regional District Parks Committee, with hopes that it will apply it to the Muir area.
“The area has been extensively logged, so we need to grow pieces of it back and to build an area for recreation and for habitat preservation,” Swinburson said, adding that the Muir Creek area includes an endangered species as well, which, if no action is taken, could very well risk becoming extinct.