Nature Conservancy of Canada purchases Vidal Bay Forest property

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) purchase of 18,000 acres of Vidal Bay will create a complex of 248 square kilometres of protected area, the largest of its kind south of the Canadian Shield when combined with nearby NCC properties.

NCC owns the property, but must complete fundraising before making final announcement

MANITOULIN – This past Tuesday it was confirmed that a deal has been reached for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to purchase the Vidal Bay property on Western Manitoulin.

Gary Taylor, broker in the Wiarton office of Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, confirmed on Tuesday.

“The sale did close at 4:58 pm last Friday, January 26,” said Mr. Taylor.

“NCC did purchase the property,” stated Mr. Taylor, “and it is in our system that the sale has been closed. The property was purchased for $13 million. It was originally listed at $14,999,000.”

Esme Batten, NCC program director told the Recorder in an email this past Wednesday, “I am able to share an update about the Vidal Bay property that NCC is about 85 percent of our way to our fundraising goal, which needs to be met before we can officially announce the successful completion of the project.”

“Although NCC now owns the property we are not in a position to announce it or develop any formal plans for the property until the fundraising campaign is completed,” wrote Ms. Batten. “We look forward to building our relationships with First Nations and local communities. We will be in touch when we can share more.”

NCC regional vice president Ontario Mike Hendren said in a December 2 letter that it is the organization’s intention “to purchase a significant property on the Island, located at Vidal Bay. The property is an incredible 7,608 hectares (18,800 acres).”

Boasting globally rare alvar communities, coastal cliffs, over 18 kilometres of undeveloped Lake Huron shoreline, inland lakes and wetlands and intact forest systems, the Vidal Bay property presents an incredible opportunity to conserve a vast coastal wilderness south of the Canadian Shield in Ontario and the unique species it sustains, explained Mr. Hendren. “NCC’s motivation for purchasing the property is to maintain the significant habitats and species that are found there,” he said. “In addition, we want to conserve the land for people to enjoy in ways that are compatible with these goals. If NCC is successful in raising the funds necessary to purchase this property, we would welcome the opportunity to work with First Nations communities, townships, local politicians and representatives from tourism and business groups to ensure the lands are managed and promoted in a manner that provides traditional, economic and recreational benefits to the local community. We will also welcome the help of those interested in management of the land.”