Cultus Creek, Darkwoods, British Columbia (Photo by Tim Ennis/NCC)
The lush valleys, rugged peaks, tumbling creeks and deep lakes of British Columbia's Selkirk Mountains are both astoundingly beautiful and ecologically important. In the heart of this incredible mountain range lies a 136,000-acre (55,000-hectare) privately owned property known as Darkwoods.
Here, wildlife — including one of the last herds of mountain caribou in the world — finds refuge. Rare plants survive. Pristine water from alpine lakes feeds into 17 separate watersheds. Forests, whose diversity rivals any in British Columbia, thrive.
Beloved by the local community for its backcountry recreation opportunities, natural resources and scenic beauty, Darkwoods can now also be celebrated as a conservation legacy of global, national and local importance.
Mountain caribou (Photo by Garry Beaudry)
Why Darkwoods matters
There is not just one feature that makes Darkwoods such an important natural treasure. The property contains a multitude of special characteristics. Some of these are tangible, like the plants and animals that live here. Others are less easy to see, but just as vital to the long-term protection of nature and culture in the region. For example, Darkwoods is an important source of clean water that pours into Kootenay Lake and other water bodies. It is also a highly valued part of the wilderness backyard to the surrounding communities, who use it for recreation and resources. Read more >
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) purchased Darkwoods in 2008 from Pluto Darkwoods Forestry Corporation. This acquisition remains the single largest private land purchase for conservation in Canadian history. Since securing Darkwoods, we have completed an extensive ecological baseline inventory of the property, which then informed our Property Management Plan. Darkwoods continues to be one of our most active projects, with ongoing conservation research and a long list of stewardship activities throughout the summer. Read more >
Hikers at Darkwoods, BC (Photo by NCC)
Darkwoods has a long history of use by local communities. Since the 1960s, the public has been allowed limited access to the property with a permit, and we are happy to continue that tradition and even expand those opportunities. At the same time, the land cannot support all uses, at all times, in all places and retain its special character. Some reasonable limits are required.
Darkwoods forest carbon pilot project
The Darkwoods Forest carbon pilot project harnesses the power of the carbon market to further large-scale conservation in British Columbia. The forests on Darkwoods store an enormous amount of carbon, and we have been able to create a high-quality carbon project that raises important funds for our conservation work. Read more >
Partners in conservation
Darkwoods has brought together a wide variety of both private and public sector partners across Canada and the U.S., as well as local communities and First Nations. We thank the many funding and community partners who have come together to make the Darkwoods Conservation Area a reality. Read more >