The Denman Conservancy Association donated this 9.4 hectare nature reserve in 1992, making it the first nature reserve protected by the Islands Trust Conservancy Board. The reserve protects a forested lot providing critical green space buffering Pickles Road Marsh on the north and south sides. The forest of Douglas-fir, western redcedar and hemlock, and grand fir provide perches for osprey, bald eagles, great horned owl, and Cooper's hawk hunting in the marsh. Sword fern, salal, vanilla leaf and woodland rose make a lush understory.
Two small creeks draining the marsh run through Inner Island Nature Reserve, eventually feeding Beadnell Creek - a salmon spawning stream. The reserve is a safe wildlife corridor between the marsh and adjacent Provincial Park.
Inner Island Nature Reserve was originally part of a privately-owned tree farm. In the 1970s, as part of a larger parcel, the land that would one day be known as Inner Island and its neighbouring wetland was donated to the Vancouver Foundation. Recognizing the significant habitat the wetland offered migrating and resident birds, the Foundation donated the wetland portion of the larger property to the Crown, but sold the remainder forested portion of the lot to Raven Forest Products of Campbell River. In 1992, the Denman Conservancy Association raised $70,000 to purchase back the forested lot from the forestry company. Later that year, the Conservancy donated the lot to the Islands Trust Conservancy to be protected permanently as the Inner Island Nature Reserve, providing a protected buffer for the Crown-owned wetland.
Although the wetland, now known as Pickles Road Marsh, is outside the Inner Island Nature Reserve, the Islands Trust Conservancy hopes to work with the Provincial government to add additional layers of protection to this diverse habitat.
Inner Island Nature Reserve is a small property whose primary purpose is to provide a green buffer for Pickles Road Marsh. The Islands Trust Conservancy does not maintain trails on this nature reserve in order to best protect the sensitive nature of the marsh and the wildlife it supports.
Pickles Road Marsh can be viewed from the bridge on Pickles Road. For those wanting to bird watch, we ask that you help us save the surrounding forest and creeks from trampling and damage, and instead view the marsh from the road. The wetland is home to a diversity of birds, including trumpeter swans, wood ducks and hooded mergansers. Please keep some distance between yourself and the water's edge to prevent disturbing or scaring the migrating birds. Please keep pets on leashes.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada holds a conservation covenant on the Inner Island Nature Reserve and the Denman Conservancy Association 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 minimize human interference with the wetland it buffers, and steward its forest as it transitions from a younger forest into mature and old-growth habitat for local wildlife. In partnership with the Conservancy, we're monitoring and removing invasive species that might damage the forest and wetland ecosystem. The management plan for Inner Island Nature Reserve can be viewed here.