Valens Brook Nature Reserve is a story of neighbours inspiring neighbours. The 6.3 hectare (15.6 acre) protected area is the result of two families donating land to conservation, seven years apart.
Marilyn Wan and Dr. Kal Holsti donated the original Valens Brook Nature Reserve in 2012 and Louise Hermanutz and David Innes donated the Valens Brook Nature Reserve addition in 2018. The reserve protects a portion of its namesake waterway and diverse riparian forest. Salmon spawn here, as the creek runs through a lush, maturing forest of cedars, firs, ferns and sedges. The riparian ecosystem supports a great diversity of species, including red-legged frog, salamanders, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons and beavers.
Marilyn and Kal's and Louise and David’s donations of land represent a larger effort to permanently protect the creek from its headwaters to the sea, creating a green belt for habitat to thrive and others to enjoy.
The forest structure here tells us that the land now protected as Valens Brook Nature Reserve was once partially logged. There are other sections that were never logged but were likely burned in the past 100 years. Since then, the habitat on the reserve has rarely been disturbed. The primarily older second growth forest has a lush understory of sword fern and salal.
The area surrounding the Valens Brook Nature Reserve remained rural and wild up to as early as the late 1960’s. Since then, properties have been subdivided and houses and septic fields built. Kal and Marilyn were worried about the effect crowding, habitat destruction and increased septic leaks were having on Valens Brook and the salmon that spawn here. In 2012, the couple subdivided their property under Section 99 of the Land Title Act, donating the natural portion of their property as a nature reserve while retaining a small portion of their property for their own personal use.
Neighbouring biologists Louise and David recognized their land’s similar natural values and were equally concerned about the future of the brook and land. After observing the successful protection of the original Valens Brook Nature Reserve, Louise and David also subdivided their property under Section 99 of the Land Title Act, donating the natural portion of their property as a nature reserve while also retaining a small portion of their property for their own personal use.