Sandy Beach Nature Reserve, located within the territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nation on the southwest shoreline of Keats Island, includes 3.4 hectares (8.4 acres) of Coastal Douglas-fir forest and over 250 metres of beachfront. The property provides suitable habitat for threatened and endangered species including birds such as the Northern Goshawk, Great Blue Heron, and the Olive-sided Flycatcher, and the Little Brown Myotis bat. The beach has been identified as appropriate spawning habitat for surf smelt and Pacific sand lance, two fish species that are important food sources for wild salmon.
The Islands Trust Conservancy received the first conservation proposal for the Sandy Beach Nature Reserve in 2003. At its May 14, 2004, meeting, the Islands Trust Conservancy Board (at that time the Trust Fund Board) approved a proposal from the Convention of Baptist Churches of British Columbia.
The title was transferred to Islands Trust Conservancy on December 18, 2020, marking ITC’s 30th Nature Reserve in 30 years, and the culmination of over 20 years of hard work and many hands to ensure this special land and shoreline was protected.
It is yet to be determined what degree of public access will exist in Sandy Beach Nature Reserve. We will start the management planning in 2021, in consultation and collaboration with the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nation, and update this information once ready.
Management planning will begin in 2021 and will include public and First Nations engagement.
An archaeological impact assessment was conducted under permit 2008-0115 on April 14, 2008. Preservation and protection of cultural areas with known and unknown archaeological sites is a priority.
The Sandy Beach Nature Reserve is a location of cultural heritage for First Nations and protection from land-altering activity under the management of the Islands Trust Conservancy is the first step to the preservation and protection of this location.
A conservation covenant is planned for the land and will follow the guiding principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).