A conservationist who was on the brink of donating his own land at Wells Gray two years ago believes property accumulated by troubled Land Conservancy of B.C. won't go on the auction block to pay debts.
The Land Conservancy (TLC), a B.C. organization based in Victoria, entered protection of the Canadian Creditors' Arrangement Act.
Its holdings regionally include property beside Wells Gray Park, a 100-hectare ranch at Turtle Valley and three hectares at Avola, the latter donated by Weyerhaeuser in 2003.
The organization worked with Clearwater Valley conservationist Trevor Goward for several years to accept his land into its holdings until the descent into financial problems.
It owes $7.5 million to creditors.
Founded it 1998, TLC has 50 properties in the province in addition to 300 where it has negotiated protective covenants.
"In the past, TLC has acquired properties without endowment funds to manage them, relying upon donors to provide the funds necessary to manage the properties," the group said in a statement.
"As a result of economic factors, donations did not materialize at historic and anticipated levels, and TLC therefore found it necessary to borrow funds to manage the properties."
Under the federal act, the organization is protected from creditors while it is managed by an outside financial monitor, Vancouver's Wolrige Mahon Ltd.
Upper Clearwater Valley resident Trevor Goward confirmed he was in the throes of a deal two years ago to donate his four-hectare property beside Wells Gray Park.
"When I was about to make the donation, they advised against it," Goward said. "They were aware of what was coming. I'm grateful to them under the circumstances."
The land was intended to form a land bridge between two arms of Wells Gray Park, part of what Goward said is needed for wildlife protection.
His neighbours, the Kurta family, completed their deal before The Land Conservancy ran into problems.
Residents also embarked on a fundraising drive through TLC that collected $133,000 to acquire other property. That money is now held by the Kamloops Foundation.
Goward said the goal of creating the corridor across private lands continues and has been boosted lately by Thompson Rivers University's new wilderness centre.
Goward credited the organization with protecting land across B.C. in the absence of government action. He said he does not fear donated properties could be put up for sale.
"If that happened it would be virtually the end of the whole movement."
Nature Conservancy of Canada, another conservation group, has holdings in Lac du Bois. It is not connected to TLC.