Land Stewardship
BC coast
bc conservation
carbon sequestration
carbon sink
Galiano Conservancy
Galiano Island
land protection
nature reserve
rare habitat
salish sea
species at risk

New Talking Trees Nature Reserve preserves 42 hectares of rare habitat

Talking Trees Nature reserve by James Labounty

View to Trincomali Channel from Talking Trees Nature Reserve by Jim LaBounty

July 11, 2024 – The Galiano Conservancy Association (GCA) is delighted to announce the protection of 42 hectares (103.5 acres) of ecologically diverse mature and old-growth coastal Douglas-fir forest on Galiano Island through the creation of the Talking Trees Nature Reserve. This waterfront parcel protects 600 metres of undeveloped rocky shoreline and rare habitats including coastal bluffs, Garry oak woodlands, wetlands and riparian forest.

Galiano Island is part of the Southern Gulf Islands archipelago and lies near the centre of both the biologically diverse Salish Sea and the provincially and globally imperiled Coastal Douglas-Fir biogeoclimatic zone (CDF). 

Located within the traditional and unceded territories of the Penelakut, Hwlitsum (Lamalcha), and other Hul’qumi’num-speaking peoples, the Talking Trees Nature Reserve will preserve habitat for many traditional food sources, such as lila’ (salmonberry), and culturally significant species, including x’pey (western redcedar), which dominates the swamps and riparian corridors found across many areas of the property.

View of Mount Sutil on Galiano Island from Talking Trees Nature Reserve

Mt. Sutil viewed from Talking Trees Nature Reserve by Chessi Miltner

Establishing the Talking Trees Nature Reserve not only protects important habitat for many species at risk, such as the northern red-legged frog, great blue heron, and common nighthawk, but also preserves carbon-rich old-growth forests and riparian ecosystems that are crucial for mitigating climate change impacts, and are increasingly rare within the CDF.

This important land acquisition was one of eight projects selected for financial support through the Old Growth Nature Fund, established by the B.C. government and Environment and Climate Change Canada as part of Canada’s commitment to protect 25% of terrestrial areas by 2025. Totalling 316 hectares, the eight selected sites are highly biodiverse and protect old-growth and mature (“recruitment old-growth”) forests that provide habitat for many species at risk.

The GCA would also like to acknowledge the previous owners of the property, Gundy and Andrew Macnab, for their family’s careful stewardship of the land over the past several decades, and for their generous contribution to a land stewardship endowment to ensure management and restoration activities can continue on the property into the foreseeable future. The remarkable property had long been identified as a priority for preservation, and discussions with the family regarding acquiring the parcel for conservation began several years ago.

GCA Executive Director, Chessi Miltner (left) stands with Julia Greenlaw, daughter of previous owner, beside an old-growth fir

GCA Exec. Director, Chessi Miltner (left) and Julia Greenlaw, daughter of previous owner, stand beside an old-growth fir

Over the coming months, the GCA will conduct an ecological baseline survey and develop a long-term management plan with input from First Nations, neighbours, and other local stakeholders. The reserve is projected to formally open to the public in 2025, once the management plan, signage, and new trails are developed. Existing community trails north of Porlier Pass Road and between Porlier Pass Road and Ganner Road can continue to be used and are slated to be upgraded for the 2025 opening.

“The Talking Trees Nature Reserve protects one of the last intact tracts of mature forest on Galiano Island, preserving remnant old growth, red-listed ecological communities, vibrant creek and wetland habitats, Garry oak woodlands, and 600 metres of undeveloped coastline in perpetuity.” – Chessi Miltner, GCA Executive Director.

Multi-aged forest at Talking Trees Nature Reserve by Jim LaBounty

Key Facts:
  • Galiano Island lies entirely within the Coastal Douglas-fir biogeoclimatic zone, the smallest and rarest of 16 such zones in BC, and of great conservation concern.
  • Talking Trees Nature Reserve is a 42-hectare (103.5-acre) waterfront parcel of mature and old-growth forest located on the west coast of Galiano Island, approximately 50 km southwest of downtown Vancouver, and 55 km north of downtown Victoria.
  • In the spring of 2024, the GCA purchased the land with a $1,773,000 grant from Old Growth Nature Fund to ensure the protection of the Talking Trees Nature Reserve.
  • The protected parcel is densely forested, containing mature and old-growth, coastal Douglas-fir forest.
  • This acquisition protects over 600m of high-bank coastline and near-shore habitat adjacent to a provincially designated Rockfish Conservation Area.
  • Talking Trees Nature Reserve is traversed by a freshwater creek and contains extensive riparian and wetland habitats.
  • Species at risk known to frequent the property and/or adjacent coastline include great blue heron, common nighthawk, olive-sided flycatcher, barn swallow, California gull, surf scoter, band-tailed pigeon, double-crested cormorant, Brandt’s cormorant, purple martin, common murre, Steller sea lion, and red-legged frog. It is likely that other at-risk species, including marbled murrelet, horned grebe, little brown myotis, and sharp-tailed snake also use the property and/or adjacent coastline.
  • Map shows Talking Trees Nature Reserve relative to other protected areas

    Talking Trees Nature Reserve is located mid-island on Galiano


We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. 

This Project was undertaken with the financial support of:
Ce projet a été réalisé avec l’appui financier de:

About the Galiano Conservancy Association:

Founded in 1989 as one of British Columbia’s first community-based land trusts, the Galiano Conservancy Association (GCA) has become a regional leader in ecological restoration, conservation, and nature-based learning. The GCA currently stewards over 600 hectares (1500 acres) across Galiano Island through covenants, management agreements, and fee simple title.