Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve


The Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve was protected by American landowners with the assistance of the American Land Conservancy in 2001.  The picturesque 0.52 hectare property protects a Douglas-fir and western redcedar forest looking out over Horton Bay.  The maturing forest provides habitat to the abundant diversity of bird species that visit the mudflats of Horton Bay.  Preserving forests upland of the sea is also important for the health of marine invertebrates and forage fish species.


Mayne Island has a rich cultural history, first settled by First Nations peoples thousands of years ago.  At least one archaeological midden site rests in Horton Bay, suggesting that this area was heavily utilized for hunting, gathering and summer camping by First Nations. 

The previous owners of Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve wished to protect the natural values of the property, with special consideration for the abundant birdlife visiting Horton Bay's mudflats.  The landowners, who were American citizens, donated the property to the American Land Conservancy in 2001 with the understanding that this organization could donate the property the Islands Trust Conservancy.

Although the name seems to refer to bird aviaries, the name "Bayviary" was created from segments of the previous owners' grandchildren's names and reflects the joy they felt during their time on the property and exploring the Gulf Islands.


Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve is small with no established trails or beach access.  Otters actively den in the reserve and are easily disturbed by visitors.  Therefore, we ask visitors to refrain from venturing into this nature reserve and instead visit nearby Henderson Hill Community Park for walking and nature appreciation.


The Mayne Island Conservancy Society and Habitat Acquisition Trust hold a conservation covenant on Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve and the Mayne Island Conservancy Society acts as the on-island management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Conservancy.  The reserve is monitored regularly by volunteers. 

Other than protecting the reserve from human disturbance and monitoring invasive species encroaching on the forest, the Islands Trust Conservancy's management priorities for the reserve are primarily to allow the protected area mature into a biodiverse old-growth forest for the future.  The management plan for the Horton Bayviary Nature Reserve can be viewed here.

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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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