Darkwoods Project — The Nature Conservancy of Canada

Canada’s largest private-land conservation project, conserving 212 square miles of former timberlands.

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Darkwoods Project — The Nature Conservancy of Canada PROJECT BRIEF

Old growth forests, subalpine meadows, lush lakeshores and river valleys—the West Kootenay region of British Columbia boasts a huge diversity of life. Its vast network of connected habitat also stretches across the border into the Selkirk Mountains of the Idaho Panhandle and the Purcell Range of Montana’s northwest corner.

That’s why Vital Ground was eager to contribute to the largest private-land conservation effort in Canadian history: The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s sprawling Darkwoods complex. At 136,000 acres (212 square miles), this collection of lands once owned by a timber company will be protected as critical habitat for sensitive plant and animal species ranging from grizzly bears and bull trout to woodland caribou and endangered orchids.

The impact of its protection will be even larger than its acreage. Darkwoods serves to connect other protected public and private lands, creating a vast network of wild country that covers more than 250,000 acres. With that size and topographic diversity, Darkwoods may well become a climate haven. As climate change alters the food and shelter patterns of sensitive species, the animals will have room within the Darkwoods complex to travel to different latitudes and elevations as they seek to adapt. It all adds up to a massive $125 million conservation effort that will benefit the region’s humans and wildlife for generations.

Darkwoods Project at a Glance

  • Led by The Nature Conservancy of Canada, the largest private-land conservation project in Canadian history
  • Conserves 136,000 acres of former timberlands and helps connect more than 250,000 total protected acres
  • Located in West Kootenay region of British Columbia, builds connectivity with Selkirk and Purcell ranges
  • Mixed-elevation geography allows sensitive wildlife to adapt to changing climate within protected area