Unlike most areas on the relatively dry Gulf Islands, the Creekside Rainforest contains life that is representative of the old growth hemlock and cedar rainforests on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The deep ravine and continuous tree cover keep the land and creek at lower temperatures with higher levels of moisture compared to the rest of Salt Spring Island. As a result, at-risk species such as the coastal Cutthroat trout, red-legged frog, and Pacific sideband snail can survive here. The property is the only intact riparian habitat for salmon-bearing streams on Salt Spring Island.
Upon the sale of the property in 2005 by the long-time owner, the community became concerned about the potential development of the property. When the threat of development became real with a subdivision proposal on the land, the community of Salt Spring stepped up and was the driving force behind this project. Led by an ad-hoc group of concerned citizens, championed by Maureen Moore, they have pushed both for the protection of the property and for TLC to take the lead in its securement. The community raised just over $1,000,000, and TLC took ownership of the property in early 2008.
TLC processed over 1,000 individual donations from across Canada, the United States and Europe. Contributions came from bake sales, art shows, musical evenings, organized rainforest tours, a literary reading, a play and local small business challenges. The interest in saving this temperate rainforest so rare that it’s found on less than 1 percent of Earth’s land surface, even intrigued children. Pupils from the Salt Spring Centre School collected donations from selling handmade cards and birdhouses, and from their allowances. Fulford Elementary Nature Club also donated.
As for next steps at Creekside Rainforest, nature tours will be planned to educate individuals of all ages about the importance of protecting plant and animal life in B.C. As well a stewardship and management plan will be created to protect the sensitive ecosystem.
The property is used extensively by local hikers and walkers and is the site of a salmon enhancement project led by the Island Stream and Salmon Enhancement Society. This property has been considered a community resource for a number of years.