The David Otter Nature Reserve was protected in 2006. The
three hectare (7.4 acre) reserve protects two creeks and a riparian
forest, including a stand of 200-year old Douglas-firs. Some
of these old fir trees died over the years and now offer nesting
cavities and habitat for owls, eagles, hawks and a variety of
songbirds. Maturing western hemlock and western red cedar
trees can be found scattered across the reserve.
The reserve borders Crippen Regional Park and a large Crown land
parcel encompassing Mount Gardner. The protected area acts as
a corridor for species to move between these two large natural
areas. Rocky outcrops, rock piles and steep slopes offer
ideal reptile habitat on the upper slopes of the reserve.
The David Otter Nature Reserve holds no evidence of First Nation
use or occupation. But, because of its close proximity to
Killarney Lake and Mount Gardner, there is a possibility the land
may have provided a route leading to the freshwater source or a
lookout on the mountain.
Several old stumps within the reserve show us this area was
logged in the early 1900s; however many old-growth Douglas-fir
The David Otter Nature Reserve was donated by Neil Boyd and
Isabel Otter in 2006. It's named after their son who enjoyed
the area in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The David Otter Nature Reserve is primarily a riparian area that
is difficult to access without eroding the steep banks that cradle
the reserve's creeks. Human use of the reserve, even light
walking, could destroy the ecosystems this reserve was created to
protect. Therefore, we ask visitors to refrain from venturing
into this nature reserve and instead use nearby Crippen Park for
walking and nature appreciation.
Bowen Island Municipality holds a conservation covenant on the
David Otter Nature Reserve in order to provide an additional layer
of protection for the property.
The David Otter Nature Reserve is monitored annually by the
Islands Trust Fund, and is also checked on a regular basis by two
volunteer wardens. Other than protecting the reserve from
human disturbance and removing invasive English holly from the
site, the Islands Trust Fund's management priorities for the
reserve are primarily to leave the site be, letting the protected
area mature into a biodiverse old-growth forest for the
future. The management plan for the David Otter Nature
Reserve can be viewed here.