TOFINO — A local non-profit foundation may try to secure heritage status for Cougar Annie's Garden and turn the property into a National Historic Site.

Story by Keven Drews published on Westcoaster.ca on January 27, 2009. Click here for original article.

Kira Rogers, a spokesperson for the Boat Basin Foundation, said securing heritage status for the garden and the Temperate Rainforest Field Study Centre would open the doors to further funding opportunities. Declaring the property a National Historic Site, she added, would increase its status.

The garden and field study centre, located in Hesquiat Harbour, 55 kilometres northwest of Tofino, are expensive to maintain, said Rogers, because materials need to be barged in.

“It's a special place because it's a part of our history in Clayoquot Sound and the story around it is quite amazing,” she said. “This place is amazing. You can't understand until you see it.”

Rogers delivered the message during a meeting of the Tofino Long-Beach Chamber of Commerce last week. She followed it up with an interview with the Westcoaster.ca Monday.

She said the foundation is trying to find ways to bring in more money and raise the garden's profile.

The foundation is responsible for 117 acres of wilderness located in Hesquiat Harbour, including the five-acre garden and the Temperate Rainforest Field Study Centre, which includes six cabins and a main dining hall.

The garden was planted by Ada Annie Rae-Arthur, who moved with her husband, Willie Rae-Arthur, to the Boat Basin in 1915. She quickly turned the garden into a nursery business, planting hundreds of varieties of trees and shrubs, perennials and bulbs.

Ada Annie Rae-Arthur received the nickname Cougar Annie thanks to the many cougars she shot.

She died at the age of 97 in 1985.

The property was purchased by Peter Buckland who maintained it for the past 15 years and set up the Boat Basin Foundation.

Eco-Trust Canada recently became an investor in the garden, said Rogers.