Buttertubs Marsh is a hidden gem in the heart of Nanaimo. Step foot onto its trail and you will immediately be transported from the hustle and bustle of your surroundings into a serene sanctuary.
Located just a short distance from the Nanaimo Ice Centre and Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, Buttertubs is a birdwatcher’s paradise. The two-kilometer loop trail is easily accessible and there are observation decks and a tower for taking in the views. It is also home to the famous Miner’s Cottage, which was built sometime around 1910-1912 and relocated to its current site in the late 1990’s.
A bird and wildlife sanctuary, Buttertubs is a perfect place to go for a stroll, take in the sights and enjoy one of our city’s greatest natural assets. But there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the role it plays in our community.
A study completed in 2018 reveals that this 55-hectare wetland plays an important and extremely beneficial role in moderating the downstream flow of the Millstone River. In fact, if the marsh did not exist it would cost the City anywhere from $4.7 to $8.3 million dollars to build a system to do the same job that the Buttertubs does just by being there! Other benefits to a natural stormwater storage system like this one is that there are no up-front or replacement costs and no depreciation. Not to mention, it eliminates the need to buy land and build on it.
Among some of the world’s most productive environments, wetlands like Buttertubs are Mother Nature’s water filtration system and are vital for human survival. They serve to mitigate climate change, control flooding and are home to countless species of plants and animals that depend on them for survival. Want to learn more? You can read the full report here.
The Municipal Natural Assets Initiative pilot study was organized through the David Suzuki Foundation, the Town of Gibsons, Sustainable Prosperity, Asset Management BC and Brooke and Associates. Nanaimo was one of five communities across the country invited to take part in the study, which looked at ways to apply measurement and management methods used in asset and financial practices to conserve and enhance natural capital.
Buttertubs Marsh is co-owned and managed by the City of Nanaimo, The Nature Trust of British Columbia and Ducks Unlimited Canada.