After several years of behind the scenes work of the Denman
Conservancy Association, Morrison Marsh Nature Reserve came to the
Islands Trust Fund in 2005 as a generous donation from an anonymous
donor. The 50 hectare (125 acre) reserve protects forest,
rock bluffs, the headwaters of Boyle Creek and the southern end of
Denman Island's largest marsh - Morrison Marsh. The marsh is
home to more than 80 bird species; a key waterfowl over-wintering
and breeding area. Several species of special concern live on
the property, including Great Blue Herons, Hutton's Vireo,
Band-tailed Pigeons, and red-legged frogs. Beaver, mink,
otter and Pacific chorus frogs live there as well.
The nature reserve provides an important link between the marsh
and Boyle Point Provincial Park, giving wildlife a safe corridor
between this freshwater resource and the ocean. Protecting
the marsh also benefits the community as a groundwater recharge
With an ancient Pentlach village site nearby, Morrison Marsh was
likely used by indigenous peoples for hunting of waterfowl and deer
as well as the gathering and harvesting of plant materials.
The marsh was used at one time during European settlement to farm
reed canarygrass. The forests around Morrison Marsh were
logged several times throughout the 1900s.
In 1985, Ducks Unlimited Canada, in cooperation with the
Provincial government and shoreline residents, installed a crest
weir and outlet channel to control water levels in Morrison
Marsh. Since that time however, a beaver dam downstream of
the weir has also played a part in determining the depth of the
In 2000, a private owner purchased the property with the intention
of protecting the marsh. After several years of behind the
scenes work by the Denman Conservancy Association, the landowner
chose to subdivide the property under Section 99 of the Land Title
Act, creating a large parcel to be donated to the Islands Trust
Fund for conservation purposes, while retaining a small portion of
the property for potential future residential use.
Morrison Marsh Nature Reserve contains several old logging roads
that are used by the local community for walking, bird watching and
nature appreciation, and that connect with trails inside Boyle
Point Provincial Park. When visiting, please stay on
established trails and pathways to keep from damaging pockets of
wetlands throughout the reserve. Please respect private
property neighbouring the nature reserve.
Mountain bikes and all-terrain vehicles damage sensitive rocky
outcrop and marsh areas, and are not allowed in this nature
reserve. When canoeing or kayaking in the marsh please avoid
venturing into the nature reserve or southern portion of the marsh;
give waterfowl a sanctuary where they can rest, breed and raise
young undisturbed. Please keep pets under control to make
sure the wildlife that find sanctuary here are not harassed.
The Denman Conservancy Association holds a conservation covenant
on the Morrison Marsh Nature Reserve, and acts as the on-island
management group on behalf of the Islands Trust Fund.
The Islands Trust Fund is working to protect habitat known to
support red- and blue-listed species, rocky outcrops, the pocket
wetlands that form the headwaters of Morrison Marsh, and the
marsh's shoreline by carefully diverting trails and monitoring use
of the reserve. In partnership with the Conservancy, we plan
to remove invasive species that might damage habitat on the reserve
such as English holly and laurel leaved daphne.
The management plan for Morrison Marsh Nature Reserve can be