The David Otter Nature Reserve was protected in 2006. The three hectare (7.4 acre) reserve protects two creeks and a riparian forest, including a stand of 200-year old Douglas-firs. Some of these old fir trees died over the years and now offer nesting cavities and habitat for owls, eagles, hawks and a variety of songbirds. Maturing western hemlock and western red cedar trees can be found scattered across the reserve.
The reserve borders Crippen Regional Park and a large Crown land parcel encompassing Mount Gardner. The protected area acts as a corridor for species to move between these two large natural areas. Rocky outcrops, rock piles and steep slopes offer ideal reptile habitat on the upper slopes of the reserve.
The David Otter Nature Reserve holds no evidence of First Nation use or occupation. But, because of its close proximity to Killarney Lake and Mount Gardner, there is a possibility the land may have provided a route leading to the freshwater source or a lookout on the mountain.
Several old stumps within the reserve show us this area was logged in the early 1900s; however many old-growth Douglas-fir trees remain.
The David Otter Nature Reserve was donated by Neil Boyd and Isabel Otter in 2006. It's named after their son who enjoyed the area in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The David Otter Nature Reserve is primarily a riparian area that is difficult to access without eroding the steep banks that cradle the reserve's creeks. Human use of the reserve, even light walking, could destroy the ecosystems this reserve was created to protect. Therefore, we ask visitors to refrain from venturing into this nature reserve and instead use nearby Crippen Park for walking and nature appreciation.
Bowen Island Municipality holds a conservation covenant on the David Otter Nature Reserve in order to provide an additional layer of protection for the property.
The David Otter Nature Reserve is monitored annually by the Islands Trust Conservancy, and is also checked on a regular basis by two volunteer wardens. Other than protecting the reserve from human disturbance and removing invasive English holly from the site, the Islands Trust Conservancy's management priorities for the reserve are primarily to leave the site be, letting the protected area mature into a biodiverse old-growth forest for the future. The management plan for the David Otter Nature Reserve can be viewed here.