The Snowshoe Creek Conservation Area has officially been established in British Columbia following a 122-hectare land donation from Harvey and Carol Thommasen. The land parcel is located near Bella Coola and is part of the Nuxalk Nation’s traditional unceded territory.
Harvey and Carol Thommasen bought the land with the intention of protecting it and hope that by gifting it to the federal government, it will continue to serve as a haven for biodiversity for generations to come. The land is rich in old growth forest and serves as critical habitat for grizzly bears, Pacific salmon, and many species of birds.
The land is located next to the traditional Nuxalk village site of Nutl’lhiixw. The Nuxalk Nation supports the conservation designation as it will protect the land from mining and logging. The land will be managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
According to Steven Godfrey, the West Coast program director with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the support of the Nuxalk Nation was important for project organizers. “They’ve been stewarding the land there for thousands of years, since time immemorial,” Godfrey told CBC. “This is a small sliver of time that we’ve been involved in the area, so their support for the project and their consent for us to work in the territory was crucial for us to take on the project.”
In a statement, Harvey Thommasen explained the reasons behind the donation: “Carol and I donated this land to the Nature Conservancy of Canada mostly to help forest birds whose populations have declined by 30 percent since the 1970s. This land will also help the salmon and trout whose populations have also suffered terribly over the past 50 years, and will provide a secure travel corridor for animals like deer, grizzly bear and other large mammals moving through the Bella Coola Valley.”