About Morrell Nature Sanctuary

Morrell Nature Sanctuary, located in Nanaimo, British Columbia, is a preserved second-growth forest spanning 111 hectares. The Sanctuary offers 11 kilometers of forested walking paths, providing ample opportunities for nature exploration and environmental awareness education.

Our Mission

To preserve and promote the essential character of Morrell Sanctuary's evolving ecosystem as a model of co-existence, and as a source of information, inspiration, awareness, and enjoyment of nature.

William Morrell's Legacy

Before it was the Sanctuary, the land was considered expendable; logged in the 1920's, the slash was then burned. A second-growth forest grew up through the charred remains. The Vancouver Island Coal Company owned the maturing forest before the developer William Allan Morrell. According to conversations with Morrell's long time partner, Viola Savage, he had begun to place more value in conserving forests for the future than for turning a profit in the present.

In 1973 he chose to donate the land to the British Columbia Land Commission with the stipulation that it be preserved for environmental education.

Who We Are

The Morrell Nature Sanctuary is cared for by volunteers and managed through a non-profit society under British Columbia's Corporate Registry.  The society, formed in 1984, has a Board of Directors who are elected by members of the Society.

Acquired in 1985, the sanctuary is on 111 hectares (278 acres) of land owned by The Nature Trust and managed by the Morrell Sanctuary Society for Environmental Education.

Money for the operation and maintenance of the park comes from private donations, bequests, and fees related to guided public tours,  in-class presentations to students by trained interpreters, and various fund-raising activities. Morrell is a private sanctuary because it is not owned or managed by the City of Nanaimo, but it is open to the public from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.

What we do at Morrell

  • On-Site School Programs
  • Summer Day Camps
  • Junior Leader Programs
  • Seniors' Walks and Day Visits
  • Volunteer Training and Experience

Please note the following:

​If you plan on bringing a private group into the Sanctuary you must book it through the office so it does not interfere with any of our paid programs and you fully understand the Sanctuary's regulations.

Thank You!

“Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

John Muir

Our Team

Josef Baur


Daniel Haslam


Valerie Booth


Ian Burnett

Sally Hofmeier

Board Director

John McLaren

Board Director

Jay Panchal

Board Director

Gill Ross

Board Director

Clay Ross

Board Director

Charlie Bergen

Board Director

Carol LeFevre

Office Manager

Thank you to our supporters!

The people and organizations who  support the Morrell Nature Sanctuary are

Hazelwood Construction

Island Aggregates, Coastal Trucking

Herold Engineering, Extend Rentals

Stanley de Vos Fund through  Nanaimo Foundation

Coastal Community Credit Union

Sawmill Direct

Colin Bartlett - Backyard Birding and Wild Nature Store    

MJR Tree Services

​The contributions of many private donors​

We acknowledge  financial assistance from the Province of British Columbia. With the generous assistance of our sponsors, Morrell Nature Sanctuary continues to provide environmental educational programs and other services to the membership and the public.

We thank you all!

Help Us Do More

Be part of our mission! Your donation to Morrell Sanctuary will help us protect and preserve this forest for future generations. We strive to be stewards of nature through trail maintenance, invasive species removal, habitat restoration, and education programs. Join us in making a meaningful impact — donate now to help us safeguard this valuable ecosystem. Thank you for your support!