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Save Wildwood Ecoforest - Don't let it be Sold to Private Hands!

This petition had 2,481 supporters


In 2000, The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) purchased Wildwood Ecoforest with community donations to protect this legacy forever.  Now they plan to sell Wildwood to a private party in order to pay down the society’s multi-million dollar debt.

We will not let that happen.

Wildwood is Merv Wilkinson’s world-renowned Ecoforestry site just south of Nanaimo in British Columbia, Canada.  For over 60 years, beginning in 1938, Wilkinson harvested timber from Wildwood in a way that maintained a healthy vibrant forest ecosystem.  His pioneering work in forest stewardship showed a viable alternative to clear-cut logging, and earned him many honours, including the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia.

Concerned about the long term future of Wildwood, Wilkinson and the community took steps to ensure that this demonstration forest would be held as a trust in perpetuity.   Hundreds of people helped to raise over $1million to protect Wildwood and the property was purchased by TLC.  Wilkinson himself donated $150,000 of the purchase price, and one benefactor donated over $200,000 to pay off the mortgage.

Wildwood was purchased in full by public donations, and TLC declared they would protect it forever. Wildwood should never be sold to a private party, not even in part. 

To do so would contravene the community’s intent to protect this legacy and, we believe, contravenes the Charitable Purposes Preservation Act. http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/04059_01

We are calling on TLC to find an alternative that will keep the ownership and management of Wildwood in public hands.  If it must be sold, it needs to stay in the hands of a charitable organization that would keep the integrity of the agreement with the community and Merv Wilkinson.  Even with a restrictive covenant, sale to a private party will not fulfill the commitment to protect this living legacy. 

We are aware that the Ecoforestry Institute Society (EIS) has put forward a win-win proposal that would keep Wildwood protected with a covenant under a charitable land trust ownership, and have offered TLC $675,000 in cash and creditor contributions to help reduce their debt.

EIS is a non-profit organization of professional foresters and other experts who have stewarded Wildwood since 2000, as per the agreement with Merv Wilkinson and TLC.

We encourage TLC to work with EIS, or another suitable non-profit Society, towards a solution that fully protects the legacy of Wildwood and keeps it in public hands.

There is no finer example of Ecoforestry on the entire west coast of North America. Wildwood has been used as a model in many community forests across Canada, in the USA and world-wide.  To lose this source of inspiration and information would be tragic. The opportunity to educate and learn the vital lessons that are possible here at Wildwood would be lost.

Beyond the values as an educational site, Wildwood is also a refuge for 77 acres of endangered Coastal Douglas Fir forest (including 800 year old trees) and a multitude of wildlife that depend on it. 

The baby barred owl, pictured here, is one of many owls and woodpeckers born every spring in standing dead trees in Wildwood Ecoforest.  The diversity of species which rely on mature forests for survival are testament to Wilkinson’s forest stewardship practices.

Merv Wilkinson passed away in 2011, but his legacy and contributions live on through Wildwood. 

If we let Wildwood go, it is gone forever.  Please act now.

Want to help more?

Please Share on Social Media.  Take the time to write a personal letter to TLC, especially if you are a member.  Letters to the editor of your local paper will help raise awareness and get more people involved.  You can get involved as a volunteer by contacting the Wildwood Protectors at savewildwood@gmail.com

 
Links to Further Information:
The Land Conservancy of British Columbia website and facebook page

Ecoforestry Institute Society website and Wildwood Ecoforest facebook page.

Press release from TLC March 11, 2015
http://blog.conservancy.bc.ca/2015/03/tlc-will-protect-the-future-of-wildwood/

Press release from EIS  Feb 2015
http://ecoforestry.ca/call-action-protect-wildwood-ecoforest-donors

Times Colonist Newspaper Article
http://www.timescolonist.com/business/society-offers-land-conservancy-600-000-for-wildwood-forest-1.1816780

Ecoforestry Institute Management Plan for Wildwood 2000
http://ecoforestry.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/Wildwood%20management%20plan.pdf

TLC Plan of Compromise and Arrangement (which states Wildwood will be sold section 4.10 page 13)



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