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LETTER: Please refrain from visiting new Cape park for now, B.I. Conservancy requests for sake of ecologically fragile areas

If islanders must visit, the Conservancy asks that folks limit walking to the three gravel driveway access routes and in particular, not walk along the shoreline
This map shows Bowen Island Conservancy new park on the south face of Cape Roger Curtis.

Dear Editor:

In mid-December the Bowen Island Conservancy formally took possession of the 32-acre parcel of land on the waterfront at Cape Roger Curtis. We were honoured by the “Thank you” page from the community to our organization and our donors, printed before Christmas in the Undercurrent and our donors were touched by this expression of gratitude.

We are currently working with talented, knowledgeable experts to help us determine how best to preserve and protect the ecology of our newly acquired land. As well, we want to ensure a visitor experience that’s as inspiring for everybody as it was for the donors, when they made the decision to help us conserve the land for future generations. We have much to do and it will take some time before we formally declare the area open to all. In the meantime, we ask for your consideration and ongoing support of what we all want to achieve, and so we request that you refrain from visiting the land while we complete our assessment and establish trails that avoid sensitive areas. 

This is a tough request for us to make, particularly during the pandemic when everybody needs to get out for a break now and then. But we have already observed considerable recent damage from foot and dog traffic in rare, fragile ecological areas, so, for now, we have had to put up temporary signage and caution tape to mitigate any further destruction. Unfortunately it’s easy to love a place to death and the steps that we take now will maintain the rich biodiversity and beauty of the area in its natural state. 

If you must visit, we ask that you strictly limit your walking to the three gravel driveway access routes to the shore, and to the gravel “building pads” at the ends of the driveways. Please stay away from all other areas. In particular, do not walk along the shoreline on the bluffs between the building pads: this part of the land contains the most sensitive and fragile plant species and it’s where we are seeing significant damage from foot traffic.

Thank you for your ongoing support. We appreciate your consideration of our efforts to protect the natural environment of Bowen Island.

Yours truly,

Owen Plowman

President, Bowen Island Conservancy