The Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society has raised the $400,000 necessary to purchase 40 hectares of forest from the Nelson Land Corporation.
The goal has been to save the land from logging.
“It was a true team effort,” says board member Andrew McBurney on Monday. “It’s been a real nice antidote to 2020 and COVID-19. People have really wanted to put energy into something so simple and beautiful as the lake.”
The deadline of Feb. 28 had been extended twice by the corporation at the request of the society to give more time for fundraising in the midst of a pandemic.
The campaign has had more than 1,000 donors, McBurney says, with an average donation of $350. The largest was $10,000 from a business in the region, with several other businesses donating more than 1,000 each. A recent art auction on Instagram raised $9,000.
McBurney said there were moments during the year-long campaign when he almost lost heart.
“But then we got a save from someone who did something, or said something, or pushed something forward, or gave a donation. It was amazing how many times we were in a pinch, and we still pulled it off.”
The next step is for the society to transfer the money to the Regional District of Central Kootenay, which will gain title to the land and then transfer it to an established national conservation organization that is reluctant to have its name used until the ink is dry on all documents.
The society still has to raise $120,000 to cover legal fees plus the costs of fundraising, administration, surveying, subdividing, and a stewardship fee, but McBurney says the group expects to receive a grant for that purpose.