Discover the gem of the Highlands – Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary
The Mary Lake nature sanctuary is a 42 acre protected forest and riparian area that supports biodiversity while preserving ecosystems and wildlife habitat. It is also the home of the “Highlands Nature House” which sits on the water’s edge, within the tranquil natural environment, inspiring an awareness of nature as teacher and essential ally.
Be a part of protecting and caring for Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary
“Everything has a purpose and that purpose is to be respected and protected for all time. You cannot own it.
We have to share that moss and shade of tree with other parts of creation.”
~ Tom Sampson, Tsartlip Elder
Explore Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary
Suspended over the water this special space offers an expansive view of the lake and its inhabitants. The cozy rustic yet modern nature house provides the perfect ambiance for relaxation and inspiration.
We have made it possible for the CRD to purchase a section of the property to create a connection between Thetis Lake, Gowlland Tod and Mount Work Parks. It will also provide a loop from Thetis Lake to Gowlland Tod Trails and onward to Goldstream Park.
You Can Help Us with the Next Steps for Conservation, Rezoning and Facilities
Bringing together learning and land conservation, with culture and reconciliation while permanently protecting some of the last remaining riparian, wetland habitats and a secluded naturalized lake in the Greater Victoria Region.
At this time we are working to raise $50,000 to meet the expenses related to the rezoning process required for the change of use from residential to conserved area with a public gathering space.
Please support our charity to continue to do the work of maintaining and protecting this special place and all the beings who live there.
Activities and Nature
The intact Eco systems and natural beauty create the perfect setting for retreats, workshops, nature inspired programs and classes. The setting makes it the ideal place for quiet enjoyment, photography, trail walks, or simple relaxation with nature.
The Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary will be available for many wonderful experiences that will support well-being and encourage environmental awareness.
The local Intermunicipal Advisory Committee on Disability Issues has this to say about the Sanctuary property. “It is a stunning location with a user-friendly trail already in existence with a paved pathway to the house.” The numerous trails along the streams are rated as easy. This makes it possible for people dealing with mobility issues ranging from walkers to strollers for babies can get into the heart of nature.
First Nations Partnership
A new Declaration of Partnership between Tsartlip First Nation and the Greater Victoria Greenbelt Society provides the opportunity for mutual collaboration to protect, restore and acknowledge the land for it’s ecological, cultural and spiritual values.
The land and waters embody the teachings that are at the core of the indigenous world view, a place where elders can share their wisdom and guide the children of future generations. This project is on the forefront of the movement towards reconciliation with First Nations Peoples offering all of the learnings and wisdom that such a commitment fosters.
There is a common understanding that our disconnection with the natural world is reaching a tipping point from the local to the global level that calls for a reconciliation of our place in nature. The Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary provides a natural setting to address this issue through stewardship, business, academic, political, artistic and First Nations engagement while maintaining a light footprint.
Through conversations with First Nations community members, leaders and experts, these areas of will be addressed:
1. Community involvement and engagement
2. Indigenous co-governance
3. Land based language revitalization
4. Land-use and management planning
5. Plants for healing wisdom
6. Operational procedures
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Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary
1772 Millstream Rd,
Victoria, BC V9B 6E4
Greater Victoria Greenbelt Society
499 Millstream Lake Rd.
Victoria, BC. V9B 6H5
Registered Charity BN: 11894 6953 RR0001
WSÁNEC Coast Salish
Mary Lake lies within the traditional territories of the WSÁNEC (Saanich) Coast Salish Peoples.
We recognize the integral role the ancestors of the WSÁNEC Coast Salish Peoples have played as past stewards of the Mary Lake and Highlands lands.