Mid-Island community purchases hundreds of acres of forest from logging company
CUMBERLAND -- On Vancouver Island, one small community is going to great lengths to protect the region’s natural habitats.
The Cumberland Community Forest Society has been purchasing land from a logging company for their conservation efforts for 20 years.
The latest acquisition by the non-profit group is being finalized and will see 91.4 hectares of land which was destined to be logged instead be turned into more community forest.
"It's pretty exciting, it actually doubles the protected area that the Cumberland Forest has acquired for our community," said Meaghan Cursons, executive director of the Cumberland Community Forest Society.
The society was formed in 2000 to raise funds to purchase land near Cumberland to be used for hiking, running and mountain-biking.
To date, 507 total acres have been purchased.
"Perseverance Creek runs along the southwest flank of the Village of Cumberland," said Cursons.
"But it's also this beautiful creek system that flows into Comox Lake, and Comox Lake is the drinking water system for the whole Comox Valley," she said.
Cumberland's mayor applauds the group for its efforts over the past two decades.
"For something that some people thought would never happen, this is amazing," said Cumberland Mayor Leslie Baird.
"This has left us a legacy for our great-grand children and it's just amazing the amount of people that are supportive of this."
An estimated $75,000 in funding has been lost due to fundraising events being cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But extra donors have come in to help cover some of the loss.
"In spite of the odds, in spite of everything else, the community continued to see the protection of drinking water," said Cursons. "The protection of forests and habitat are important."