Friday, May 26, 2017

Governments buying Islands

Canada: Ingersoll Island in Muskoka Donated to Land Trust

One of the most active not-for-profit conservation groups in Ontario has just received a donation of a new island in Parry Sound to add to its growing nature reserve.

(Sandy Island Image Courtesy of the Nature Conservancy of Canada/Kathy Sutton)

Canada’s vast expanse of wilderness is home to a plethora of amazing places, and Parry Sound, an island-filled niche in the eastern side of Georgian Bay, has a unique beauty all its own. Designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, the area is covered with environmentally-important wetlands, and habitats for birds, turtles, and rare animals like the Southern Flying Squirrel. It also has a pristine beauty that draws flocks of Torontonians and other urbanites to make the trek north every weekend for a taste of “cottage country” living in prestigious Muskoka.

It’s no wonder then that Parry Sound has been the focus of many conservation efforts, especially those surrounding its sensitive coastal wetlands. The latest involves a beautiful private island recently given to the Georgian Bay Land Trust (GBLT), which will be added to the group’s established Sandy Island Natural Area. Located just west of Parry Island, the 425-acre reserve already includes Sandy, Joiner and Nash islands, and the gift of the 50-acre Ingersoll Island was a welcome addition to the protected area.

The island was donated by Mary Nelson and Polly Naughton, both residents of Massachusetts. In a press release put out by the GBLT, the two sisters were quoted as saying that they were pleased that the island would be added to the conservation zone. “Ingersoll’s unique shallow shoreline, thick forest, flowers, birds and animals that have given us so much pleasure will now be protected and the new acreage will complete a Sandy/ Ingersoll preserve,” they said. The island is just offshore of Sandy Island, most of which was purchased by conservation groups in 2008 for a reported CAD $2,000,000.

A new partnership between the GBLT and the US-based American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts made the donation possible; it allows American landowners who are interested in donating their Canadian properties to receive a similar tax benefit as Canadian citizens. Ingersoll Island was just the beginning of what will no doubt be a long and fruitful relationship between the organizations, according to the two sisters; “We are also happy that the new alliance between the American and Canadian land trusts opens the door for the many other American islanders to think about similar transfers.” With 10 more Canadian properties currently being considered for cross-border donation, it looks like it may indeed become a new trend in conservation.

Read more about the Ingersoll Island donation: Link

Visit the official Georgian Bay Land Trust website: http://www.gblt.org/

Learn about American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts: http://www.nsnt.ca/af/

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