Age of Union Pledges $14.5 Million Donation to BC Parks Foundation to Protect Threatened Ecosystems
The donation marks one of the single largest cash gifts in B.C. conservation history, preserving ecosystems that combat climate change and provide sanctuaries for at-risk wildlife.
Age of Union Alliance, led by tech leader and environmental activist Dax Dasilva, is proud to announce a $14.5 million donation to BC Parks Foundation, an independent registered charitable foundation with a mission to enhance and expand British Columbia’s world-class parks system. This gift marks the single largest donation in BC Parks Foundation’s history and one of the largest in the province’s conservation history. Age of Union’s support will be instrumental in the protection of key B.C. ecosystems, supporting thousands of individual plant and animal species while sustaining environments critical for resisting climate change.
“Born and raised in Vancouver with experience protesting the logging of old-growth forests in Clayoquot Sound as a teenager, I have deep-rooted connections to B.C. landscapes. It’s incredibly important for me to see through necessary conservation work to protect the province’s precious land,” said Dax Dasilva, Founder of Age of Union. “With these funds, we hope to preserve this land for generations to come and inspire others to take similar action both locally and around the world.”
A portion of the gift will go directly to preserving two key ecosystems: Pitt River Watershed, an important sanctuary for salmon, elk and other wildlife in Katzie First Nation territory, and the French Creek Estuary, a critical gathering place and habitat for thousands of eagles and 180 other species, including 19 species at risk, in Qualicum and Snaw-naw-as Nation territories. In the next few months, Age of Union Alliance and BC Parks Foundation will announce other locations in B.C. protected through Age of Union’s extraordinary gift.
“We are incredibly grateful to Dax Dasilva and his team at Age of Union for this landmark gift supporting our work to keep British Columbia beautiful,” said Andrew Day, CEO of the BC Parks Foundation. “Age of Union is inspiring and joining tens of thousands of British Columbians and our supporters from around the world in creating sanctuaries for threatened wildlife, combatting climate change, and improving human health. This historic gift is great cause for everyone to celebrate.”
“Katzie is pleased that the BC Parks Foundation has successfully acquired strategic lands in the Upper Pitt Watershed for conservation purposes,” said elected Councillor Rick Bailey. “The Upper Pitt sits at the heart of Katzie’s unceded traditional territory and the Nation has long fought to protect the local environment and preserve the bounty of the land for future generations. Katzie looks forward to working with the BC Parks Foundation to protect these lands – one that embraces the spirit of reconciliation, recognizes Katzie rights and title, and prioritizes the protection of the natural environment.”
Details on Pitt River Watershed and French Creek Estuary
Pitt River Watershed (Salmon River Sanctuary – 733 acres)
- Northeast of Vancouver, in Katzie First Nation territory, the watershed valley is spectacular with magnificent waterfalls, hot springs, wildlife, and wild salmon. The glacier-fed river flows into Pitt Lake – the largest tidal lake in the world.
- Remarkably rich in its wild salmon and trout, the Upper Pitt River Valley attracts grizzly bears and elk who rely on the river, making this ecosystem an important wildlife sanctuary. Other species, including cougars, marbled murrelets, wolverine, and mountain goats, use the property to move from highlands to river valleys.
- The Upper Pitt was designated as B.C.’s most endangered river in 2000 due to development pressure.
- The Age of Union gift funded the purchase of 733 acres of valley bottom and riverfront property.
French Creek Estuary (Eagle Sanctuary – 23 acres)
- This estuary between Qualicum Beach and Parksville on Vancouver Island is a critical gathering place for thousands of eagles who rely on tall mature trees buffered from human activity to feed on clams dislodged by surf and tides and other nutrients.
- It is the habitat for 19 at-risk species, including, herons, marbled murrelets, northern red-legged frogs, western toads, and Townsend big-eared bats, among other wildlife like beavers, owls, and cougars. It is also home to 150-year-old Coastal Douglas fir (ranked critically imperilled) and Western Red Cedars, amongst others.
- Estuaries are rare, making up only 2.3% of B.C.’s coastline, but they are highly productive and diverse, bridging land and ocean as a place for species to come for food, shelter, and raising their young. They also play a key role in climate change, acting as protective buffers, absorbing floodwaters, and dissipating storm surges.
- The Age of Union gift is providing $1 million towards a crowdfunding campaign target to purchase key lands in the estuary.
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