Sallas Forest brings together a group of people seeking a high-quality residential and recreational experience in the unique forest and ocean environment of Sidney Island in British Columbia's Georgia Strait. It is a community committed to careful, sustainable management of the forest and wildlife, and to protection of the island's rich ecological diversity and aesthetic values. The privacy of residences, and opportunities to enjoy the natural environment, are enhanced through a specially-adapted organizational structure, thoughtful planning and controls, and sensitive stewardship and use of the land and resources.
Sidney Island, at the southern end of the Gulf Islands archipelago, between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia, is often referred to as "The Jewel of the Gulf." Less than 20 kilometers north of Victoria, roughly on a line to Vancouver, just west of the U.S. San Juan Island, Sidney Island offers easy access, yet preserves a pristine private forest surrounded by beaches and a rich marine environment.
The climate of the Southern Gulf Islands is Mediterranean, with exceptionally pleasant, warm summers, mild winters and less than 30 inches annual rainfall.
The island is 2200 acres in size. At the north end, a lagoon and long sandspit occupy the 440 acres of Sidney Spit Marine Park. The remaining 1760 acres is entirely the private property of Sallas Forest Strata Corporation. More than 12 miles of sand and pebble beaches surround the islands 17 mile shoreline.
Sidney Island is indisputably one of the most pleasant and picturesque of the Gulf Islands, and the last one of this size that has remained undeveloped. The residential plan, forest management plan and strata organization are all designed to preserve the natural features of this island and it's forest and marine environments.
Every part of the island offers breathtaking views. To the south is the snow capped Olympic Range; to the east, the perfect cone of Mount Baker and the Cascade Mountains. Many sailors consider the Georgia Strait as the finest yachting waters in North America and likewise, scuba divers consider it as the best diving area.
Wildlife abounds both on the island and in surrounding waters. The forest provides cover for two species of deer. Ponds and wetlands provide habitat for large numbers of water fowl. Numerous pairs of bald eagles nest along the shore. Woodpeckers, herons, hawks and a dozen species of songbirds are abundant.
From the shore, it is common to see seals and sea-lions basking on the rocks.
Occasionally, a migrating pod of killer whales provides a spectacular sight. Nearby waters offer excellent salmon, halibut, cod & crab fishing.
The forest is dominated by Douglas fir, including some of the original stands of old growth, but more extensive tracts of vigorous second growth. There is, in addition, an extraordinary variety of other coniferous and deciduous forest trees, arbutus, oak, maple, cherry, dogwood, cedar, balsam, yew and other trees, as well as smaller vegetation, wild flowers, mosses and lichin.
Sidney Island offers a wide range of recreational opportunities, notably sailing, kayaking, scuba diving, fishing, beach activities, walking and exploring nearby waters and islands of Georgia Strait. The managed forest provides unusual opportunities for forest-oriented recreation such as hiking and bird watching.
Apart from some especially sensitive areas protected under covenants, the waterfront portion of the lands is divided into 111 strata lots. The strata lots are mostly between one and three acres in size and have 200 to 400 feet of waterfront. The interior is a common property forest, professionally managed for its full range of commercial, aesthetic, wildlife and environmental values. The comprehensive plan is designed as a model of sustainable development.
Access to Sallas Forest is afforded by a private airstrip and boat docking facilities, both of which are the common property of strata owners. A tastefully-designed system of forest roads connects these access points to residences, beaches and other common property.
Victoria International Airport lies only 5 miles to the west, near Sidney B.C. Vancouver and Seattle-Tacoma also provide international connections. BC Ferries runs to Vancouver from a terminal near Sidney. Washington State Ferries connects the town of Sidney with Anacortes, Washington.
Plentiful supplies of fresh water have been proven, and all strata owners are guaranteed access to it.
Sidney Island, known to aboriginal people as Sallas Island, was one of the earliest places settled on Canada's Pacific Coast. It was on the route from Fort Victoria to the Fraser River gold rush in 1858. The following year the Hudson Bay Company began offering land for sale, and to make it appear more civilized, changed its name to Sidney Island. For some years following the turn of the century, a brickworks operated in the area now within the marine park, utilizing the island's fine clay.
Some of the huge old growth Douglas Fir timber was logged during the two World Wars, and in its place vigorous stands of second growth have flourished.
In 1910, a group of Victoria businessmen purchased Sidney Island as a hunting preserve, though vegetable farming and sheep raising continued for some decades. In 1981, after the marine park was created, the remainder of the island was purchased by Sallas Forest Limited Partnership. Today, following official approval of a development plan to integrate low-density residential development with forest management and protection of areas of special environmental significance, ownership is being transferred to strata owners organized under a strata corporation.