Amelia Humphries donated her forested property in 1997 so that the people of Lasqueti could continue to appreciate the beauty and importance of nature on the site. Much of Kwel Nature Reserve is second and third-growth forest, but two stands of 'big tree' old growth forest that escaped Lasqueti's logging past remain. These few large old trees are a reminder of the magnificent stands that formerly occupied much of Lasqueti Island, and show us that the rest of the reserve's forests will one day mature to their former splendour.
Kwel Nature Reserve is often filled with the sounds of song and foraging birds, with Pileated Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker and Northern Flicker often sighted in the trees. Veteran old-growth trees serve as perches for Ospreys, Bald Eagles, and Red-tailed Hawks. Pacific yew trees grow amidst the Douglas-firs, shore pines and arbutus trees, creating a diverse mixed forest that contains at least two rare plant communities.
Kwel Nature Reserve has a storied past, serving as the site of Lasqueti's first school. Today, the reserve continues to offer a learning experience for all ages as a continuously evolving ecosystem moving along a successional spectrum as a maturing forest.
Most of Kwel Nature Reserve was logged around 1910, and again in the early to mid-1950s. In the early 1900s, nearby Tucker Bay was a centre of activity on Lasqueti Island, and in 1913 the first public school was built on the site of today's Kwel Nature Reserve. Once the hub of Lasqueti shifted north to False Bay, the school house was converted to a community building, and later dismantled in the mid-1960s. Since then, red alders and a few conifers have grown over the site where the school once stood. The reserve shows little evidence of its former use.
In 1997, Amelia Humphries donated the entire property to the Islands Trust Conservancy to maintain as a reserve. Her hope was that future generations could continue to appreciate the beauty and importance of nature through the site. Today, her legacy lives on as a permanently protected place.
Hidden inside the Kwel Nature Reserve, visitors will find exposed rock bluffs offering fine views out over Sabine Channel with its many small islets, and Texada Island in the distance. Visitors to the reserve can enjoy low-impact recreation such as walking and nature appreciation. Please take extra care to avoid damaging mosses and lichens on the rocky outcrops and bluffs.
Kwel Nature Reserve is closed to camping, fires and hunting. Please help us preserve the reserve's delicate mosses and lichens by leaving your bikes at the road when visiting Kwel Nature Reserve. Please also refrain from taking any wood products out of the reserve, as wildlife use woody debris on the forest floor for foraging and habitat.