A new conservation area is being formed in the Pitt River Watershed. (Age of Union/Special to The News)

A new conservation area is being formed in the Pitt River Watershed. (Age of Union/Special to The News)

New conservation area being created in Pitt River Valley

Age of Union gives $6 million to acquire 733 acres in Katzie territory

The Katzie First Nation are partnering with a new environmental group in a project to restore salmon runs and protect wildlife in the Pitt River Watershed.

Age of Union financed the purchase of 733 acres of valley bottom and riverfront property in the Upper Pitt River Valley, at a cost of $6 million, calling it an important ecosystem which is home to grizzly bears, elk, cougar, wolverine, mountain goats and other species.

Age of Union announced a $14.5 million donation to BC Parks Foundation, which is an independent, registered charitable foundation with a mission to enhance and expand B.C.’s parks system. The $6 million for the Pitt River Valley purchase came from that pool of funds.

The land is in Katzie First Nation territory, and will become a conservation zone.

“Katzie is pleased that the BC Parks Foundation has successfully acquired strategic lands in the Upper Pitt Watershed for conservation purposes,” said Katzie Councillor Rick Bailey. “The Upper Pitt sits at the heart of Katzie’s unceded traditional territory and the Nation has long fought to protect the local environment and preserve the bounty of the land for future generations.

“Katzie looks forward to working with the BC Parks Foundation to protect these lands – one that embraces the spirit of reconciliation, recognizes Katzie rights and title, and prioritizes the protection of the natural environment.”

Age of Union calls itself “a non-profit environmental alliance that supports and makes visible a global community of changemakers working on the ground to protect the planet’s threatened species and ecosystems.”

It was launched in October of 2021, with an initial donation of $40 million by Montreal entrepreneur Dax Dasilva, who founded the tech company Lightspeed Commerce. Age of Union’s goal is to support high-impact, urgent conservation projects.

Age of Union has projects across Canada, as well as South America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.

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“Born and raised in Vancouver with experience protesting the logging of old-growth forests in Clayoquot Sound as a teenager, I have deep-rooted connections to B.C. landscapes. It’s incredibly important for me to see through necessary conservation work to protect the province’s precious land,” said Dasilva. “With these funds, we hope to preserve this land for generations to come and inspire others to take similar action both locally and around the world.”

The BC Parks Foundation says its mission is to prevent the urban development of the land and turn it into a park system that protects, enhances, and sustains the land for present and future generations, while allowing locals to enjoy activities such as fishing, hiking, canoeing, and camping.

The Upper Pitt was designated B.C.’s most endangered river in 2000 due to development pressure.

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