Alpine Lake on Darkwoods, BC (Photo by Bruce Kirkby)
The Nature Conservancy of Canada's work in the West Kootenay is anchored by the 63,000-hectare (155,000-acre) Darkwoods Conservation Area.
Conserved in 2008 and expanded in 2019, Darkwoods is the single largest private land conservation project in Canada. Spanning remote valleys, mountains and lakes, Darkwoods provides essential habitat for dozens of species at risk. The conservation area plays a central role in a network of parks, wildlife management areas and conservation lands that encompass over 1,100 km2.
Large, connected conservation-managed landscapes can play a crucial role in ecosystem-level resiliency in the face of a changing climate. By supporting a diversity of habitats - from valley-bottom wetlands to mid-elevation forests to alpine meadows and lakes - landscape-scale conservation initiatives are essential for supporting a wide range of plants and animals as they adapt to broad environmental changes brought on by drought and fire.
Why Darkwoods matters
The lush valleys, rugged peaks, tumbling creeks and deep lakes of Darkwoods are both astoundingly beautiful and ecologically important. Here, wildlife finds refuge. Rare plants survive. Pristine water flows. Unique, diverse forests thrive.
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Darkwoods is to be one of our most active stewardship projects, with ongoing conservation research and a long list of stewardship activities throughout the summer.
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Darkwoods is an unmaintained wilderness area open to the public from July through September.
Find out how to visit Darkwoods >
The German duke
Many years ago, as the Cold War stalked Europe, a German duke looked westward for a haven for this family. He found it in British Columbia, in an immense tract of land he named Darkwoods, invoking his beloved Black Forest at home.
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This land has a long history of use, dating back millennia.
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Forest carbon project
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.
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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 >
Photo credits: Grizzlies, water sampling and railroad tracks by NCC; the duke and son courtesy of the family; hiker and mist in trees by Bruce Kirkby.