July 05 2010
Dear Mr. Cull
On behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment, I am responding to your April 6 letter concerning the acquisition of Darkwoods by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
As you know, Darkwoods consists or more that 550 square kilometers of ecologically sensitive land In British Columbia. The conservation of this land is important for the habitats of migratory birds and species at risk including the threatened southern mountain population of woodland caribou. The protection of this property was supported by two federal government programs that Environment Canada administers; the Ecological Gifts Program and the Natural Areas Conservation Program. The Ecological Gifts Program encourages Canadians to donate ecologically sensitive lands and interests in those lands by offering tax Incentive. (www.ec.gc.ca/pde-egp). The Natural Areas Conservation Program, which fosters on-the-ground action to preserve Canada's natural environment, provided a fInancial contribution to the acquisition of the Darkwoods property by the Conservancy. Together, these programs make a significant contribution to the conservation and protection of Canada's natural heritage, ensuring a natural legacy for future generations
Under these programs, Environment Canada does not acquire land directly. Rather, our partners are required to negotiate the terms of an acquisition and any conservation agreements that might be put in place upon the acquisition of land. Therefore, the discussions and negotiations that took place between the previous Darkwoods landowner and the Conservancy did not involve the Department.
As with other properties acquired under the Natural Areas Conservation Program, the Conservancy will put in place a stewardship or management plan for Darkwoods that, depending upon the unique nature and characteristics of this area, would address such issues as sustainable residential, recreational and commercial activities (Including forestry) on the conserved lands. If you would like further information on this management plan, please contact Pluto Darkwoods Forestry Corporation at firstname.lastname@example.org
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