Greenways Land Trust is celebrating 25 years of restoration and protection of Campbell River’s nature this year.
The mood was celebratory at the organization’s March 18 Annual General Meeting. Founding Greenways member Chuck DeSorcy took meeting attendants back through time to the group’s beginning as a way to take ownership of land that was to be donated to the city.
“The genesis of the organization came from an informal discussion with the city planner Chris Hall, who was getting offers to donate land, which the city could not accept. He was wondering if something could be done. We got together, and the discussion led to us forming a charitable group that could hold land in trust for environmental protection,” DeSorcy said during the meeting.
“I started down this road as a young guy who enjoyed the outdoors. After living in several places in B.C., I moved to Campbell River in 1984. I soon found this natural environment was second-to-none,” DeSorcy added. “As I travelled on the back roads, I noticed increasing deterioration of the natural environment that I loved. With the birth of my daughter, I soon realized that if I didn’t get engaged there would be little left for her to enjoy.
“The battle is still going on, and for that reason I’m still involved in Greenways and it’s mission to restore, sustain and protect the natural areas and critical habitats, particularly ecological and recreational greenways that benefit or community.”
While the group started as a method to hold land in trust for environmental protection, after a few years it took on a more active role in the community, as more grants were available to groups who undertook field work. The group also became involved with the Beaverlodge Forest Lands under the direction of then-president Ron Burrell.
“As a member of the Willow Creek Watershed Society, I was aware the variety of small stewardship groups were struggling,” DeSorcy added. “I thought that Greenways would be valuable as a resource centre and stewardship umbrella for local stewards, giving us a central contact for interested people and a bigger voice as streamers. We were able to raise enough funds through grants to establish an office, a staff person and stock the stewardship centre, which was invaluable for our growth.”
From there they were off and running. Greenways has been a part of many important projects over the years, including the Haig-Brown property stewardship work, school programming, community gardens, a food forest and last year’s Ocean Blue restoration among many others.
“The best part of Greenways is the commitment of the people involved to make our environment better, returning to mother nature some of the bounty she gives us,” DeSorcy said.
To get involved with Greenways, visit their website at https://www.greenwaystrust.ca/get-involved/.