Canadians are well-known for being nature lovers. Now, they’ve crowdfunded enough money to create a new protected park on the country’s unspoiled west coast.

The BC Parks Foundation launched a campaign in June 2019 to protect 2,000 acres of the Princess Louisa Inlet on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, reaching its $2.3 million target within a matter of months, thanks to multiple small donations.

The inlet lies 69 miles from Vancouver, and is only accessible by boat. It is marked by sheer granite cliffs and is home to the renowned Chatterbox Falls, along with grizzly bears, eagles, mountain goats and marine life.

Princess Louisa Inlet, 69 miles from Vancouver, is only accessible by boat.
Image: BC Parks Foundation

Forests for the future

In 1965, the head of the inlet and part of its northwest side became the Princess Louisa Marine Park – a conservation area managed by the provincial government of British Columbia with support from a local charity.

But the southern part of the park remained unprotected. And with offers from forestry companies to purchase the land from a private seller, the BC Parks Foundation took steps to ensure it was safe from deforestation and development.

Canada has one of the lowest rates of deforestation in the world. Its 348 million hectares of forest lands represent about 9% of the world’s forest cover, but account for only 0.3% of global deforestation.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

Halting deforestation is essential to avoiding the worst effects of global climate change.

The destruction of forests creates almost as much greenhouse gas emissions as global road travel, and yet it continues at an alarming rate.

In 2012, we brought together more than 150 partners working in Latin America, West Africa, Central Africa and South-East Asia – to establish the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020: a global public-private partnership to facilitate investment in systemic change.

The Alliance, made up of businesses, governments, civil society, indigenous people, communities and international organizations, helps producers, traders and buyers of commodities often blamed for causing deforestation to achieve deforestation-free supply chains.

The Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020, summarizes the areas in which the most urgent action is needed to eliminate deforestation from global agricultural supply chains.

The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 is gaining ground on tackling deforestation linked to the production of four commodities: palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp and paper.

Get in touch to join our mission to halt to deforestation.

The renowned spot is now set to become a protected park.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/Klaus Johannson

From small beginnings come great things

In 2016, a similar crowdfunding campaign led to nearly 40,000 people donating almost $1.7m in just three weeks to buy Awaroa Beach in the Abel Tasman National Park, on New Zealand’s South Island. With help from the New Zealand government, the beach was purchased for public use.

The funds raised for Princess Louisa Inlet will allow BC Parks Foundation to purchase three miles of waterfront and 2,000 acres of pristine watershed land. It plans to transfer the property to the government of British Columbia for transformation into a provincial park.

BC Parks Foundation CEO Andrew Day says this will be one of the first crowdfunded protected parks in Canada.

"It's just an amazing, amazing thing that people have done," he told CBC News. “It was so many people who gave us $10 or $15 and said, 'This is all I can do, but this is a wonderful thing that you're doing.'"