Lululemon founder Chip Wilson has purchased the small Canadian island Saturnina in efforts to preserve the rare Douglas fir ecosystem. 

Wilson also aided in the purchase of two other Canadian islands also located in the Salish Sea. His conservation efforts come at a time of growing criticism of the British Columbia government’s failure to adequately protect other old-growth ecosystems.

Wilson’s foundation has also donated $3.2 million to save the islands, which will be donated to the British Columbia Parks Foundation. The efforts started in 2020 as a global crowdfunding campaign to save West Ballenas. Wilson’s foundation matched the donations and bought the islands, as well. 

Wilson told the Guardian that his visit to Vancouver’s vast Stanley Park years ago inspired him to be more active in climate preservation.

“I thought, if myself and my family ever get a chance, we want to be able to [save the ecosystem] for future generations,” Wilson said.

The Douglas fir ecosystems are vital to at-risk species that inhabit the islands’ forests, providing food and shelter for red squirrels, bears, chipmunks and other animals. It also provides valuable habitat to rare wildlife species like northern spotted owls. 

BC Parks Foundation CEO Andrew Day told the Vancouver Sun that the islands’ ecosystems are globally unique. Unlike the majority of Canadian forests, which sit on public Crown lands and are not for sale directly, nearly 80% of coastal Douglas fir ecosystems are on private land.

Although the total size of the Island is small “every square centimeter of land matters,” Day said.