Three new protected areas totalling 769 acres are being created thanks to a $100 million donation from lululemon founder Chip Wilson and his wife, Summer, through the Wilson 5 Foundation
The BC Parks Foundation says the $100 million donation is “the largest private donation in Canadian conservation history.”
The donation was announced as part of the launch of the BC Parks Foundation's 25X25 campaign, aimed at protecting 25% of B.C. lands and water.
About 14% of B.C. is already protected as parks and protected areas.
“These are very ambitious targets,” said BC Parks Foundation CEO Andy Day. “But around the world, this is a critical decade to take action on climate change and biodiversity loss.”
BC Parks Foundation is hoping the $100 million private donation from the Wilsons will help leverage funding from government, citizens and other philanthropists.
“It’s our hope that this gift will mark a major step change in B.C.’s efforts to protect its incredible natural wealth,” Chip Wilson said in a news release. “This donation supports our family’s charitable focus and we hope that it will inspire additional donations from British Columbians and friends from around the world to the BC Parks Foundation, joining them in pursuit to ensure that B.C. has the greatest parks system on earth.”
The Wilson Foundation donation will help fund three new conservation efforts:
- Falling Creek Sanctuary, 528 acres in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains of Northeastern B.C.;
- Teit’s Sanctuary, 200 acres of grasslands at Spences Bridge at the confluence of the Thompson and Nicola Rivers;
- Bourguiba Springs, 41 acres of sagebrush grasslands in the southern Okanagan, which is habitat for bighorn sheep.
The Falling Creek sanctuary is within traditional territory of three Treaty 8 First Nations in Northeastern B.C. – the Saulteau, West Moberley and McLeod Lake Indian Band – where there are concerns about the impact of resource extraction on caribou and moose habitat.
“We appreciate seeing land protected from industrial development to preserve wildlife corridors, support an ecological balance, and facilitate the meaningful exercise of our treaty rights,” said Saulteau Chief Justin Napoleon.
Since its formation in 2018, the BC Parks Foundation has helped broker the protection of 5,700 hectares of lands and water in 14 conservation projects, including the purchase of two islands – Saturnina and West Ballenas – 800 hectares in Princess Luisa Inlet, and 3,500-hectares of an area known to the Tahltan First Nation as Ice Mountain next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park.