Singing Woods Nature Reserve


This 9 hectare property transferred to the Islands Trust Conservancy in 1999 as a requirement of development.  Big-leaf maples, Douglas-fir, western redcedar and western hemlock make up the second-growth forest on the property, while tall sword fern, salal and salmonberry form a rich, green understory.

Singing Woods Nature Reserve protects the headwaters for Davies Creek flowing east and Dorothy Creek flowing west.  A marsh and swamp regulate and clean the freshwater leaving the property, making this reserve an important piece of Bowen's freshwater supply.  The reserve, together with adjacent areas, including parks, an ecological reserve, properties protected by conservation covenants, and Crown land, comprise an important wildlife corridor between Crippen Park and Josephine Lake.


Parts of the property were logged from the early 1900s to approximately 1985.  A major fire occurred on portions of the nature reserve in about 1920.

Singing Woods Nature Reserve was originally part of a larger property, subdivided and developed by WCD Developments Ltd in the late 1990s.  After considering the concerns of the local community, the developer donated a section of the larger property with critical wildlife habitat to the Islands Trust Conservancy for protection.  The land donation ensured these headwaters would never be built over. 

Originally named Cates Hill Nature Reserve, the Islands Trust Conservancy thought the name didn't capture the sense of the place.  So we invited children on the island to help us in naming the new nature reserve.  After a visit to the reserve, students were inspired by the special place, coming up with names like "Bernie's Bog", "Frog's Bliss Nature Reserve", and "Swampy Bogwattom".  In the end, we chose the name "Singing Woods".  Singing Woods refers to the song of frogs that breed in the swamp, the dawn chorus of songbirds that nest in the forest, and the wind in the trees.


Singing Woods Nature Reserve is open to the local community for light recreational use, such as walking and nature appreciation.  To make sure the natural features of this reserve are not damaged, please stay on established trails and refrain from littering.  No camping, fires, or motorized vehicles are allowed.

Migrating and non-migrating birds and waterfowl frequently use the marsh here.  Please keep dogs on a leash to keep from disturbing the birds.


The Bowen Island Conservancy acts as the on-island management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Conservancy.

The Islands Trust Conservancy's primary management priority for this protected area is to steward its forest as it transitions from a second-growth forest into mature and old-growth habitat for local wildlife.  In partnership with the Conservancy we are monitoring and removing invasive species that might damage the forest ecosystem.  We are also monitoring human use of the property to protect the water quality and flow regimes of all streams and wetlands within the reserve.  The management plan for Singing Woods Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

CSS - Steil

The Steils and the Steil's Woods Covenant

After more than 50 years immersed in the hustle and bustle of the lower mainland, Sara and Richard Steil enjoyed a quieter life surrounded by natural habitat they protected with a conservation covenant.

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Page last updated: 16/10/19
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