Railroad track tie, Darkwoods, British Columbia (Photo by NCC)
Darkwoods and the surrounding mountains have a long history of human use dating back thousands of years, and falls within the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa, Sylix and Sinixt Peoples. During the 19th and 20th century, European settlers established towns through the region, and resource used intensified as the population grew.
The expanse of land that is now Darkwoods first became a property in 1897 when it was named a Crown grant to the Nelson & Sheppard Railway. The property passed through the hands of six different resource companies until 1967, when it was bought by a German Duke.
For the next 40 years, the Duke's forestry company, Pluto Darkwoods, maintained a European-style sustainable forestry operation on the property. The company's efforts to minimize the impact of the timber harvest on the overall health of the forest allowed the property to retain much of its ecological value.
In 2008, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) purchased the Darkwoods lands from Pluto Darkwoods Forestry Corporation in the largest single private land purchase for conservation in Canadian history.
On July 1, 2009, Darkwoods became the BC Region's 8th annual Gift to Canadians.
In 2019, NCC added an additional 7,900 hectares (19,500 acres) to Darkwoods through the acquisition of the Next Creek watershed lands.
The story of Darkwoods
Many years ago, as the cold war stalked Europe, a German duke looked westward for a haven for his family. He found it in British Columbia -- in an immense tract of land he called Darkwoods. The Duke fell in love with Darkwoods and its towering mountains, cool water, trees of all shapes and sizes and animals that roamed freely through the abundant land...
Read our feature story about the Duke who loved Darkwoods and how the Nature Conservancy of Canada came to protect this magnificent property.