A Critical Freshwater Ecosystem

Laughlin Lake is the largest wetland ecosystem on Galiano Island and serves as the headwaters for Greig Creek, the site of the Galiano Conservancy’s coho salmon reintroduction program. The lake is located between several other protected areas in the Mid-Island Protected Areas Network (MIPAN), making it key to landscape-level connectivity. The area is home to several species at risk, including the blue-listed northern red-legged frog (Rana aurora), blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis), western pondhawk (Erythemis collocata), and great blue heron (Ardea herodias fannini).  The lake is maintained by beavers (Castor canadensis), who have constructed a series of dams along the eastern shoreline.  

The Galiano Conservancy maintains and monitors the ecosystems of Laughlin Lake, including annual removal of introduced species such as Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) and protection of regenerating trees from beaver browsing.  We also maintain a public trail to a viewing area at the end of the peninsula on the southeast side of the lake.  

Recovery and Restoration

Laughlin Lake was drained in the 1890s for agricultural purposes. It was not until the 1970s – when beavers re-colonized the area – that standing water began to collect once again in the Laughlin Lake basin. In the late 1970s, the east end of the lake was heavily disturbed by a gravel pit operation that mined up to the water’s edge, expanding the lake area by creating a “bay” in the depression left by the gravel extraction. In the 1990s, the construction of Vineyard Way further disturbed the eastern shoreline of the lake. By the 1990s the basin had filled to pre-agricultural levels. 

Between 2002 and 2004, the Galiano Conservancy and community volunteers performed significant restoration treatments along the eastern shoreline of Laughlin Lake.  Today, the results of those treatments are a testament to the power of community-based restoration.  

Laughlin Lake

At a Glance

  • Size: 11.5 ha
  • Legal Description: Part “D” and Part of Lot 5, District Lot 66, Galiano Island, Parcel Identifiers 003-573-583, 028-982-151
  • Covenant Holders: Islands Trust Conservancy
  • Acquisition Years: 2001, 2013


Visitors can take a short hike to the end of the restored peninsula for wildlife viewing.

Knowledge Hub

Key Documents

Media Gallery

Explore photos and other media captured at Laughlin Lake.


The Mystery at Laughlin Lake

Produced in 2002 in collaboration with the Access to Media Education Society (AMES), this student film creatively documents the restoration of Laughlin Lake

Knowledge Hub

Additional Resources

Explore the following resources to learn more about Laughlin Lake.

Stewardship Newsletters | June 1, 2001

Archipelago – Summer 2001

A Greywater Solution | Saving Seeds | Fresh Vision & Fresh Flowering | Hotsprings and Strange Lifeforms on the Ocean Floor | Fractal Isles | A Laughlin Lake Diary | Earth Education | Classroom and War Zone | The Last Great Sea