Stunning and magical.
Those are words Tanya Wahbe uses to describe property that borders the north end of Tatlayoko Lake donated by businessman Joerg Fischer and his wife Hannelore to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).
Wahbe is the conservancy’s West Coast program director.
She said the addition of the latest 72-acre parcel completes a 15-year effort to create a 2,700-acre protected area in the Tatlayoko Valley by purchasing private pieces of land.
In September of this year, when she visited the area for the first time, she was in awe of its beauty.
“I could not believe my eyes when I arrived and I saw the surrounding landscape. I could see what Joerg and Hannelore had in their hearts as soon as they arrived there in the early 1980s that this is where they wanted to be,” Wahbe told the Tribune this week after the conservancy announced the land donation. “I felt so fortunate they thought to partner with the Nature Conservancy.”
Back in 2000, the Fischers partnered with the NCC so the area would be protected forever, Wahbe said.
The first piece of land they sold was the Tatlayoko Lake Ranch.
“Hannelore and I are really proud of what we have done here in Tatlayoko,” Joerg said in a press release. “We promised ourselves we would conserve this beautiful place, and now, thanks to our partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, we have fulfilled this dream.”
When Wahbe visited the area, there was a community celebration at Tatlayoko Lake Ranch Conservation Area where the conservation efforts began to acknowledge the Fischers for their commitment and to unveil a sign at the Joerg Fischer Conservation Area.
“We had a meal and everyone was so happy to be a part of the community that is thinking forward in conservation,” Wahbe said.
“Speakers at the celebration voiced gratitude and respect toward the Fischers and the partners of the Nature Conservancy for their vision to protect the landscape before it becomes altered in some way by habitat fragmentation or other form of change to that environment.”
In a press release the NCC described the Tatlayoko Valley as home to a wide range of wildlife, including grizzly bear, mule deer, cougar and fisher.
The property also supports habitat for Species at Risk Act-listed species such as northern red-legged frog (special concern) and Lewis’s woodpecker (threatened).
The wetlands at the head of Tatlayoko Lake are a particularly important area for tens of thousands of birds that use this valley as their migratory pathway.
A portion of this project was donated to the NCC under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land.
The project also received funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program.
“Joerg and Hannalore will always have ties to the land there and go back to visit,” Wahbe said.
“I’m in love with Tatlayoko Valley now too.”